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Adrian heads into today's Turkey Trot as the favorite

WORTHINGTON -- Runners from 13 school teams will converge on the Prairie View Golf Links this morning for the 39th annual running of the Turkey Trot Cross Country Meet.

WORTHINGTON -- Runners from 13 school teams will converge on the Prairie View Golf Links this morning for the 39th annual running of the Turkey Trot Cross Country Meet.

"We worked on laying the course out Thursday and it was in good shape yesterday," said Worthington High School cross country coach and meet director Mike Traphagen. "We are ready and anticipating another good meet -- there are several top-notch individuals and we always look forward to the team competition."

While Adrian is a strong favorite to repeat as team champions in both varsity divisions -- the 4,000-meter girls' race is scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. start, with the boys' 5,000-meter run following at 10 a.m. -- the team races for second could be interesting.

Utilizing amazing balance and depth, the Dragons won both team titles in 2005 and appear to be even stronger this year.

"We have been running well and are shooting for both team titles again," said AHS head coach Doug Petersen, who guided the Dragon girls to a state championship last fall.

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Adrian's Morgan Lynn (15:17) is the defending individual champion and is favored to repeat.

Strong challenges could come from fellow Dragons Leslie Stover, Megan Henning and Erica Thier, along with Murray County Central's Laura Christensen, Worthington's Kaitlin Gerber, Windom's Alex Potter and Pipestone Area runners Amanda Schoonhoven and Ann Marie Dykstra.

Windom has displayed good team balance in several meets so far this season and will likely be a contender for second place in the girls' team standings, along with Mountain Lake-Butterfield-Odin. The Wolverines are led by the Nelson sisters (Petra and Bethany) and the Hildebrandt sisters (Heidi and Hannah).

Adrian's boys are exceptionally deep -- their 12th finisher has run 5,000 meters in 19:10 -- and they, too, are favored to repeat.

Adrian senior Ethan Wieneke is having a great fall -- coming off a victory at Sioux Falls Lincoln Tuesday -- and is a favorite to improve upon his eighth-place finish from a year ago.

Ryan Tholen (Tracy-Milroy-Balaton) finished fourth a year ago and has been winning races too.

Nathan Ellens (MCC), Nate Reyne (Adrian) and Brian Juber (Worthington) are among the other top runners that should be near the front of the boys' race.

In addition to the teams already mentioned, runners from Martin County West, St. James, Jackson County Central, Southwestern United, Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central and Hills-Beaver Creek/Ellsworth will also be participating.

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The competition starts with the junior high girls' 1,800-meter race at 9 a.m. The junior high boys will run the same course 15 minutes later.

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