Mikele Walu, Fanuel Wolday advance to state in cross country
Worthington Trojans advanced two runners to the state Class AA high school cross country meet but came up a little short in the team standings
MINNETRISTA -- In another outstanding performance, the Worthington High School boys cross country team placed two runners in the top four and three in the top 12 Tuesday at the Section 2AA meet at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista.
Senior Mikele Walu was third overall with a time of 16:18.14, and sophomore teammate Fanuel Wolday was fourth in 16:25.50. Another senior Trojan, Filmon Wolday, was 12th in 17:11.50.
Worthington, which competed as a team in the 2021 state meet, was unable to advance from Tuesday’s section competition. It was a tight four-team race as WHS head coach Cory Smidt predicted, but the Trojans finished third behind Mankato East, with 50 points, and Belle Plaine, with 66. Worthington had 71 points.
Marshall was next with 116, followed by Mankato West with 150, New Prague 160, Jordan 180, Fairmont 196, Hutchinson 259, Tri-City United 288, Glencoe-Silver Lake 293 and St. Peter 298.
The top two teams advance to the state meet, which will be run Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Thus, Worthington was a mere five points away from qualifying for their second consecutive Big Meet.
“The kids ran their hearts out. I couldn’t have been more proud,” said Trojans head coach Cory Smidt. “We have such a good section. The kids ran really well, too.”
Walu and Fanuel Wolday, by virtue of their high finishes (the top six individuals qualify), will run at state.
Ofbeka Morke finished 23rd overall for the Trojans, in 17:29.88. Teammates Asrat Bonnett was 29th in 17:47.62, Isaac Kinser was 30th in 17:48.97, and Austin Kinser was 31st in 17:49.16.
Emmett Gerres of Belle Plaine won the individual championship by running the 5,000 meters in 15:40.86.
In the girls’ race, Marshall easily captured first place in the team standings, with 37 points. New Prague was next with 106, followed by Mankato West 110, Mankato East and Belle Plaine with 122 apiece, Hutchinson 152, Jordan 154, St. Peter 179, Fairmont 237, Tri-City United 294, Glencoe-Silver Lake 301 and Worthington 364.
Hutchinson’s Isabelle Schmitz finished first in a clocking of 18:19.59.
Worthington’s first runner was Madison Sieve, who was 63rd overall in 23:51.48. Other Trojan finishers included Kenadie Thiner (71st, 24:49.46), Anaka Wede (75th, 26:45.46), Florence Balash (77th, 27:20.01), Lauryn Ahlers (78th, 28:01.61), Marisa Thier (79th, 28:50.53), and Grace Bates (80th, 30:54.08).