SLAYTON – The hills were alive with winning streaks here Tuesday at the Murray County Central/Fulda Warrior Invitational cross country meet.
Fabulous freshman Fanuel Wolday of Worthington and the amazing Amanda Overgaauw of MCC/F cruised to dominant 5K victories amid hot conditions on the hilly Slayton Country Club course.
Wolday and the Worthington boys team of coach Cory Smidt have won every meet save one this fall, while Overgaauw and the Warriors are unbeaten on the season. The Trojan boys and Warrior girls continued their winning ways Tuesday afternoon against a talented invitational field that included athletes from Pipestone Area, Edgerton/Southwest Christian, Jackson County Central, Adrian/Ellsworth, Martin County West and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton.
Wolday covered the in 17:34, 18 seconds ahead of the runner-up finisher from MCW. Jackson County Central’s Andrew Boyum and Evan Paplow were third and fourth, respectively.
Worthington runners Mikele Walu, Alec Langerud, Mason Bobb and Filmon Wolday also finished in the top 10 as the Trojans won the team competition easily, scoring 23 points. JCC finished second with 60, and MCC was third with 87.
Langerud said it’s special to be on this WHS team.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Langerud, who also stars in hockey for the Trojans. “We’ve had a really good team for a few years now and I think this is the year we’re going to capitalize on it and get to the state meet.”
Fanuel Wolday is a freshman with eye-popping ability.
“He kinda came out of nowhere and he’s been running just amazingly,” Langerud said. “It’s fun to see a young, talented kid out there.
“We’re making progress and on a pretty positive trend here recently, which is good to see.”
Worthington coach Cory Smidt said his boys deserve all the credit.
“It’s all because of them. They work really hard,” Smidt said. “It’s nothing to do with me. The kids push each other, and that makes it a wonderful team.”
The girls race was a no contest, as Amanda Overgaauw took a commanding lead in the first mile and ran all alone to post an exceptional time of 18:43.0. Amanda’s twin sister, Ashley Overgaauw, finished a distant second for the Warriors in 20:49.0.
Amanda is clearly in a class of her own this fall.
“The hills are difficult,” Amanda said. “I know that Ashley’s pushing me back there. She’s coming. I think she’s really improving.”
Amanda hasn’t been behind in any race this season.
“Just the golf court,” she smiled.
Sister Ashley is improving from a hip injury that has bothered her since last spring’s track season. She is also one of the top runners in southwest Minnesota.
“I felt pretty good. It’s really improving,” Ashley said.
A year ago, it was Ashley that won every race while Amanda finished second.
“It’s been hard for me,” Ashley said. “But I’m looking forward to a big comeback.”
The MCC girls certainly look fabulous. Besides the talented twins, MCC/Fulda received a fourth-place effort from Brylei Schreier, and teammates Ella Stapek (eighth) and Quintilia Parra Mendez (ninth) also finished in the top 10.
Parra Mendez is a foreign-exchange student from Spain who is adding to the depth of the exceptional MCC/Fulda program.
“They’re running real well together,” said MCC/F coach Dominick Damm. “Amanda is doing great and her sister is coming back and her times are coming down. Same thing with our 3 through 7 runners. We’re collectively improving and it’s exciting.”
The MCC/Fulda girls finished with 21 points, which was far ahead of second-place Pipestone Area (54) and third-place Edgerton-Southwest Christian (93).
Damm has a tradition-rich program. His athletes certainly looked the part while starring at their own invitational.
“They race together every day in practice and are competitive with each other,” Damm said. “All the kids, the boys and girls, like each other and they definitely like racing against each other. That competitive attitude throughout every day is a great thing.”