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Cross country: Adrian's Slater, Worthington's Jirele look sharp

Les Knutson

Daily Globe

MARSHALL —Displaying exceptional balance in each varsity race at Independence Park Tuesday, the host Marshall Tigers claimed both team titles at their own 14-squad invitational high school cross country meet.

Marshall convincingly won the girls’ meet with a low score of 32 points on scoring places 3-5-6-7-11, finishing 33 points ahead of second place Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI.

Redwood Valley was third with 115, while Adrian —paced by the impressive second-place finish of senior veteran Nicole Slater —edged Worthington, 129-130, for fourth.

Following the Trojans, with complete team scores, were Murray County Central (144), Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (148), Windom (182) and Pipestone Area (219).

RV’s Kayla Huhnerkoch won the 4,000-meter girls’ race, clocking a time of 14:59.9.

Slater (15:13.3) outkicked Marshall’s lead runner Claire Boersma (15:15.5) in a close race for second.

“I had a lot of people cheering me on, which always helps,” exclaimed Slater as she was cheering for the Adrian boys later in the day. “It was a fun race against some very good girls.”

C/M/LH senior Leah Jessen, one of the area’s premier runners for years, finished fourth (15:36.4) and Marshall eighth-grader Nichole Sample was fifth (15:53.8).

Worthington was led by a fine 12th-place finish by Meredith Moore (16:36.7), followed closely by Alicia Darling (14th, 16:41.3).

“As usual, those two did a fine job leading us,” praised WHS head coach Ken Henkels. “We had a nice team score from our girls, getting good runs from all seven.”

Jessica Darling (28, 18:18.6), Olivia Ebbers (34, 19:33.1) and Kacey Contreras (42, 20:44.8) completed the scoring for the Trojans, while Ariana Lopez (44, 20:52.9) and Rachel Koller (45, 20:55.6) finished close behind Contreras.

T-M-B’s Cassandra Hook finished among the medalists, entering the chute with a ninth-place time of 16:22.9.

Adrian’s Morgan Sauer (16, 16:55.3), Windom’s Christianna Green (18, 17:00.1), PA’s Livia Wallace (20, 17:19.4), Southwest Christian’s Elise VerHey (23, 17:42.9) and MCC’s Sariah Cheadle (24, 17:46.4) were other area girls who finished in the top-25 of the 67-runner field.

Tiger boys nip Lancers on tiebreaker, Trojans place 3rd with 96 points

Through five runners, both Marshall and C/M/LH had 59 points, but the Tigers’ sixth runner finished ahead of the Lancers’ sixth, giving MHS the team title.

Worthington, paced by a stellar fourth-place performance by junior Matt Jirele, finished third in the team standings with 96 points.

Redwood Valley, led by individual winner Ryan Phillips, was a close fourth with a score of 101.

Filling out the list of complete teams were Yellow Medicine East (152), MCC (174), PA (180), Willmar Community Christian (186), Windom (225), Springfield/Cedar Mountain (230) and T-M-B (235).

Phillips covered the 5,000-meter course in 16:21.1, winning the race by more than 33 seconds.

Ben Burgett of WCC was second (16:54.6), followed in the top five by Marshall’s Andrew Bell (16:56.2), Jirele (16:58.7) and Marshall’s Blaine Moran (17:04.7).

“Getting fourth among that field of runners is pretty good,” exclaimed Henkels about Jirele’s finish. “He is off to a great start this season.”

Completing the scoring for Worthington were Amanual Fissiha (13th, 17:58.5), Anthony Luft (16, 17:59.4), Troy Feller (31, 19:28.6) and Jonah McDonald (32, 19:29.0).

Eighth-grader Jacob Prunty (37, 19:44.7) and Tyler VanHove (41, 19:57.2) also ran the course under 20 minutes for the Trojans.

PA eighth-grader Michael Suda finished 11th (17:46.7), T-M-B’s Matt Lavoy was 14th (17:58.9) and MCC runners Clayton Hartle (17, 18:02.0) and Andy Garza (19, 18:06.4) also placed among the top-25 in an 85-finisher field.

Woelber, Schuck, Salentiny win individual races

PA’s Tyl Woelber (15:03.4) won a dual with Southwestern United’s Logan Knutson (15:17.6) to win the 73-runner boys’ junior varsity 4,000-meter race.

Worthington’s Nathan Schuck paced the Trojans to the junior high boys’ team title by winning the 2,000-meter race with a time of 7:03.4.

Teammate Andrew Olson was fourth (7:23.0), followed by SWU’s Ben Sheldahl (7:25.8) and Brett Mueller (7:28.1) and Adrian’s Brady Henning (7:28.9) in the top seven among 69 finishers.

SWU’s Rachel Salentiny won the junior high girls’ race, clocked at 7:20.8, leading the Wildcats to the team title.

SWU’s MaKayla Edwards (7:38.2) finished third, while Adrian’s Moriah Bullerman (7:40.6), T-M-B’s Sarita Hook (7:53.8) and SWU’s Brianna Preston (8:07.4) completed the top six in a field of 53 finishers.