Cross country: WHS boys win; Suda finishes first for PA; Moore gets third in girls' race
ZACH HACKERzhacker@dglobe.com WORTHINGTON -- Tyler Van Hove was among a handful of seniors on the Worthington boys' cross country team running their final race on their home course Thursday. The Trojans' top runner knew he wanted to go out with a...
WORTHINGTON - Tyler Van Hove was among a handful of seniors on the Worthington boys’ cross country team running their final race on their home course Thursday.
The Trojans’ top runner knew he wanted to go out with a bang at the 48th Annual Turkey Trot at Prairie View Golf Links. He did just that when he led his team to a first-place finish of 77 points. That narrowly defeated second-place Murray County Central/Fulda’s 78 in a tight field that included Fairmont in third with 85 and fourth-place Martin County West totaling 91.
“I really pushed myself for the first mile because I wanted to set a tone for my whole team,” said Van Hove, who finished 10th overall at 18:20.30. “They stepped up. We’re a good young group with some talented runners.”
On the girls’ side, Worthington was led by a third-place run of 20:53.70 by Meredith Moore on the new 5,000-meter course. That helped the Trojans finish fifth in the team standings with 147 points. They actually tied with MCC/F for fourth, but the Rebels’ sixth runner - Khloe Gehl - finished ahead of Worthington’s to break the tie. Fairmont took with an impressive 39 points with Pipestone (104) and MCW (120) taking second and third, respectively.
Trojans, Suda triumph
Despite that hard push to ignite his team early, Van Hove said he was sitting in about 25th place after the first mile. Knowing the runners would have to work against a stiff wind out of the north during the final mile, that was all part of his strategy.
“I knew the wind toward the end would kill a lot of guys,” he said. “I just tried to conserve my energy so I could keep pushing through that.”
Van Hove’s personal-record time gave Worthington what it needed to take first place. Not far behind him in 14th overall (13 among scoring teams) was Andrew Huber at 18:40. Jacob Prunty (18 overall, 16 team, 18:55) and Adam Koller (19, 17, 18:56.30) finished side-by-side with Cameron Jenson (24, 22, 18:59) rounding out the score.
MCC/F’s second-place finish of 78 points was led by second- and third-place runs by Jack Erickson and Clayton Hartle. They finished in 17:51.90 and 17:56.30, respectively. Isaiah Olsem (21, 19 18:57.50), Spencer Wajer (26, 24, 19:24) and Nathan Everson (30, 28, 19:29.70) rounded out the Rebel total.
Fairmont, MCW and St. James (108) rounded out the top-five before Pipestone Area earned sixth as a team. The Arrows’ 115-point score was bolstered by a first-place individual run for sophomore Michael Suda.
“Last year I had a tough time at this meet,” Suda said. “The hills hurt me a lot. I’ve just worked a lot in the offseason and our coaches gave us some workouts to be ready. This year I hit the hills hard. Any hill was bad for me last year, but I’ve worked a lot on that in practice and now I kinda like them; they’re on my side. If you spend time with the hills, they become your friend.”
Suda navigated the whole course - hilly or otherwise - in quick fashion. He finished the race in only 17:14.10. That bested second-place Josh Sundblad of Fairmont by more than 28 seconds.
“When I’m close to other people, that kinda plays with my head a little bit,” Suda said. “Being out front a ways works better for me. I start hard until I get a lead and then I can relax and just run.”
Windom Area took seventh place on the boys’ side with 138 points. It was led by John Irwin (16,15, 18:46.70) and Isaac Tade (17,16, 18:47.20). Tommy Kraemer’s 25 th-place overall (23 rd team) time of 19:21.20 paced Mountain Lake Area’s eighth-place total of 217. Heron Lake-Okabena’s ninth-place team total of 241 was paced by a stellar run by Logan Knutson. He took sixth overall at 18:05.20. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (286) and Jackson County Central (314) rounded out the team scoring.
Southwest Minnesota Christian/Edgerton’s Dillon Mulske ran a seventh-place time of 18:05.70. His Eagles were incomplete as a team.
Moore, Martens, Wallace pace area girls
The beats of the song “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion - which the on-site DJ played shortly after the race began helped push Moore to her third-place time of 20:53.70 Thursday. She traversed the course in the lead pack from beginning to end.
“During the race I always have a song going through my head,” she said. “And If I start feeling bad I say a prayer because I know God will strengthen my legs to finish. I did that when we got to that end curve and I stuck with the Martin County West girl (second-place Whitney Smith, 20:49.50). But at the end I just started feeling exhausted.”
Though the song wasn’t ideal - she would have preferred “Bad Blood” or “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift - it was enough to keep her mind off of any pain and help her rhythm.
“For the Turkey Trot, our coach always tells us to go our hardest,” Moore said. “It’s the only time we get to run on our home course and most of the time it’s the only time our home fans get to see what cross country is all about. I just gave it all I had.”
Jessica Darling (25, 24, 23:44) was the second Trojans runner to cross the finish line, just ahead of Khot Juac (27, 26, 23:47.90). Maria Contreras (44, 40, 25:07.90) was the fourth runner to finish with Nyiel Mayola (60, 54, 26:10.30) bringing the team to its total. The sixth-place Trojan involved in the tiebreaker against Murray County Central/Fulda was Brianna Newman.
Fairmont’s Jenna Pavich (20:44.30) and Smith (20:49.50) were first and second as individuals.
Pipestone Area was pushed to a second-place team total of 104 by Angel Martens and Livia Wallace. The two finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 20:56.60 and 21:20.20.
“It was pretty windy but I just tried to stay with the top few because usually they’re ahead of me,” Martens said. “I had a lot of motivation going into this race. I went in thinking I could do this.”
Rachel Skyberg (22, 21, 23:33.90), Maria Spanier (39, 36, 24:38.40) and Michelle Neece (41, 38, 24:52.80) brought the Arrows to that total. MCC’s effort was led by Morgan Gehl, who took 20th overall and 19th among team qualifiers at 23:20.50.
SWC/E took sixth at 153 points and was led by Lydia Homandberg (23:20.40). A total of 179 points was what HL-O (seventh) finished up with as it was led by strong performances for Rachel Salentiny (8, 21:43.90) and Brianna Preston (16,15, 23:01.20). JCC and T-M-B both finished with 188 points with the Huskies earning the tiebreaker.
Adrian’s Moriah Bullerman took seventh overall with a time of 21:42.30 as the Dragons took 11th at 239 points. MLA rounded out the team scoring at 299. Christianna Green of Windom Area ran a nice race for the incomplete Eagles when she took 11th overall at 22:20:20.