WORTHINGTON -- The Overgaauw sisters, Ashley and Amanda, are leaders by example for the 2021 Murray County Central high school cross country team. Their work ethic and their results are more than enough to inspire their teammates, says head coach Dominick Damm.

“They can see what it takes to succeed,” Damm said this week as his team prepared for Thursday’s Turkey Trot cross country race at the old Prairie View golf course on the northwest edge of Worthington.

Twin sisters, the Overgaauws were both ranked among the top 10 Class A girl runners in Minnesota at the start of the fall season. They are juniors, and they are always a threat to win an event. Ashley won the section meet last season (there was no state meet because of COVID).

“Amanda’s won the first two meets (this year). Ashley’s been there up at the front of the pack,” said Damm. “They’ve put in their miles -- just the level of determination. Ashley will be back up there. It’s just a matter of time. They hate to lose. They always want to do more.”

The 2021 Turkey Trot is a Who’s Who of area high school teams. Along with Worthington, which is equipped with an outstanding boys squadron, MCC, Adrian/Ellsworth, Fairmont, Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda, Martin County West, Mountain Lake Area, Pipestone Area, St. James Area, Wabasso and Windom Area are listed among the competing programs.

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Action begins at 4:30 p.m.

Opposing teams must think the Murray County Central cross country program is the luckiest program in the state, considering that the Overgaauws burst upon the scene last year when state Class A girls individual champion Morgan Gehl was a senior with the team. Now Gehl is graduated and the Overgaauws are the clear leaders of a MCC outfit that’s actually quite deep.

“We’ve got a big team. Lots of kids. We got a good crop of junior high boys this year,” said Damm. “You take the Overgaauws out and we’ve still got a pretty good team.”

Thursday will also be a good opportunity to watch a very solid Worthington Trojans boys squad. They, too, are deep and exceptionally talented.

At the Nike Heartland Preview in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Saturday, the Trojans’ Fanuel Wolday placed an impressive ninth overall (16:50.31) among a smorgasbord of outstanding Dakota runners. Teammate Ofbeka Morke placed 25th. Mikele Walu, a two-time state qualifier, finished 31st while other Trojans Filmon Wolday (71st), Mason Bobb (94th), Isaac Kinser (95th) and Austin Kinser (98th) also finished among the top 100.

In most regular season races, the Trojan boys are a good bet to win a team title, and they look like a favorite for the Big South Conference championship. Look for the Trojans to be ready to shine at home on the Prairie View flatlands.