WORTHINGTON -- Worthington’s Fanuel Wolday and Murray County Central/Fulda’s Amanda Overgaauw can run like the wind.
And, it turns out, against the wind.
Wolday and Overgaauw raced to impressive victories Thursday afternoon amid hot and windy conditions to highlight the annual Turkey Trot cross country meet at the old Prairie View golf course.
Wolday, a freshman, was among five Worthington runners in the top 10 as the Trojans of coach Cory Smidt won boys team honors by a whopping 50 points over runner-up St. James Area.
Overgaauw and her sister Ashley, meanwhile, paced coach Dominick Damm’s MCC/Fulda Warrior team to the girls team title. Three other Warriors placed in the top 11 as MCC/Fulda edged Fairmont by 10 points in the race for first place.
Wolday ran a 17:13 over the 5K distance to earn boys medalist honors. Teammate Ofbedka Morke, a junior, placed third, while the Trojans’ Alex Langerud and Mason Bobb were fifth and sixth, respectively.
“We’ve got a great team,” Morke said. “We have a good freshman (Wolday) who’s very fast and we’ve got some depth. Plus Mikele (Walu) is coming back (from an ankle injury) and he’s just going to make the team stronger.”
Wolday has been something of a revelation in his first WHS varsity season. He’s set the pace all fall for what is an exceptional Trojan boys team.
“When there’s somebody running ahead of you it pushes you to be great,” Morke said. “This is a proud day for all of us.”
Certainly the Trojans are appreciative to have Wolday, especially on a day such as Thursday when temperatures reached 88 degrees and a southerly wind gusted to 30 mph on the Prairie View course. The last two miles were run largely into the wind.
“I had to put my head down,” Wolday said.
It’s difficult to hear fan encouragement in such conditions, too.
“You’re out there by yourself,” Wolday said.
MCC/Fulda’s Overgaauw is not used to running all alone. Her twin sister Ashley is also an elite runner and normally the girls are setting the pace while running shoulder to shoulder.
But Ashley, who won nearly every cross country race she entered a year ago, is still recovering from a slight hip injury that began bothering her last spring during track season. On Thursday, Amanda and Fairmont’s Laura Thompson separated themselves from the pack early on.
“It was really windy and hot,” Amanda said. “It felt kind of like jogging in place, but you had to keep going and keep pushing. Laura’s a great runner and she ran with me for about the first half-mile, and then I started to pull away slightly and it just continued.”
Thompson finished second, while freshman Kaylee Walklin of Windom Area was fourth.
“The conditions were tough,” Walklin said. “I felt like I started off the first mile way too fast and the second one was just a blur. It was tough, yes.”
Ashley Overgaauw and Brylei Schreier of MCC/Fulda were fifth and sixth, respectively. The first-place Warriors also received fine efforts from Megan Bakke (10th) and Ella Stapek (11th).
Amanda Overgaauw finished the 5K course in 18:16.10. Last week in Marshall in more favorable running conditions she clocked a 17:49 -- just one second off the school record time set a year ago by her sister Ashley.
The fact her twin is dealing with an injury makes winning a little bittersweet for Amanda.
“It is,” Amanda said. “Last year she always beat me.”
Then she paused.
“It’s hard,” Amanda said. “I just can’t wait for the meet when she gets back up there because she really deserves it.”
Ashley’s hip has been improving.
“Hopefully by the time state gets here she’ll be running right up there,” Amanda said.
In the meantime, she’s running for her ailing sister.
“Honestly, yes,” said Amanda, who is ranked second among 1A Minnesota runners and hasn’t lost a race this season.
Amanda paused again and wiped her glistening eyes.
“I have aspirations of getting second at state,” she said. “And of Ashley getting first. It would mean the world to us.”
Worthington 25, St. James Area 75, Windom Area 85, Fairmont 100, Murray County Central/Fulda 109, Pipestone Area 154, Heron Lake-Okabena 171
Top 15 placers
1, Fanuel Wolday, Worthington, 17:13.0; 2, Ryan Pierson, St. James Area, 17:34.4; 3, Ofbeka Morke, Worthington, 17:42.6; 4, Caden Strasser, Pipestone Area, 18:02.3; 5, Alec Langerud, Worthington, 18:05.1; 6, Mason Bobb, Worthington, 18:12.0; 7, Levi Miest, St. James Area, 18:15.3; 8, Marco Crispin, St. James Area, 18:16.3; 9, Tim Salentiny, Heron Lake-Okabena, 18:18.6; 10, Mikele Walu, Worthington, 18:20.7; 11, Evan Bumgardner, Murray County Central/Fulda, 18:21.0; 12, Aaden Nauman, Windom Area, 18:59.8; 13, Will Niestrath, Fairmont, 19:21.0; 14, Jacob Green, Windom Area, 19:21.3; 15, Austin Kinser, Worthington, 19:24.2
Murray County Central/Fulda 33, Fairmont 43, Pipestone Area 63, Worthington 119, Windom Area 125, Wabasso 161
Top 15 placers
1, Amanda Overgaauw, Murray County Central/Fulda, 18:16.1; 2, Laura Thompson, Fairmont, 19:21.6; 3, Macy Hanson, Fairmont, 19:30.2; 4, Kaylee Walklin, Windom Area, 20:11.1; 5, Ashley Overgaauw, Murray County Central/Fulda, 20:37.8; 6, Brylei Schreier, Murray County Central/Fulda, 21:36.7; 7, Taylor Post, Pipestone Area, 21:47.9; 8, Naomi Wallace, Pipestone Area, 22:26.8; 9, Carys Gudahl, Fairmont, 22:55.6; 10, Megan Bakke, Murray County Central/Fulda, 23:19.6; 11, Ella Stapek, Murray County Central/Fulda, 23:39.1; 12, Alivia Fruechte, Pipestone Area, 23:52.8; 13, Hilton Heitkamp, Adrian/Ellsworth, 23:58.2; 14, Audrina Suckow, Fairmont, 23:58.5; 15, Ailyn Balbuena Perez, St. James Area, 24:14.2