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Nelson, Tofteland lead Cardinals to twin wins in Luverne

cross country

LUVERNE -- Tenley Nelson and Brayden Tofteland each won individual titles at the Cardinal Invitational high school cross country meet on Luverne’s challenging course Thursday, leading contrasting team victories with their up-front performances.

Nelson, a sophomore and Minnesota’s third-ranked Class A girl, easily won her race, pulling away from Grace Drietz of Canby/Minneota, who is currently ranked 10th among Class A girls.

Nelson ran the 5,000-meter course in 19:03.7, while Drietz was clocked at 19:37.9.

Tofteland, an ever-improving senior, won his third race of the fall as he took the boys’ title (16:57.1), bettering 17 minutes for the first time. Tofteland finished the course 21 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Nathan Neu of Ortonville (17:18.1) who was 21 seconds ahead of C/M’s Blake Stoks (third, 17:39.7).

The Luverne girls, now ranked fifth among Class A teams, had five finishers among the top seven and claimed the team title in dominating fashion with 19 points (1-3-4-5-6).

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Canby/Minneota, ranked 12th in Class A, was a distant second with its score of 40 (2-8-9-10-11). Pipestone Area (72) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (113) also had complete team scores, while Windom Area, Adrian, Ortonville and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton were all incomplete.

The boys’ team chase was much closer as LHS needed a sixth-runner tiebreaker to edge PA after both squads finished with 49 points through five. The Cardinals top five were scored in team places 1-8-10-14-16, while the Arrows finished in scoring places 4-6-9-11-19.

Luverne’s sixth runner -- Ethan Curtiss (18th overall, 19:05.2) -- finished 17th in the team scoring, nine places better than Pipestone’s sixth runner, breaking the tie and giving the Cardinals a sweep of the meet’s team titles.

Finishing for Luverne between Tofteland and Curtiss were Jonah Friedrichsen (eighth, 18:14.5), Camden Janiszeski (10th, 18:26.5), Griffin Jarchow (14, 18:55.9) and Brady Bork (16, 18:58.0).

Other area individuals finishing among the first 15 included PA’s Seth Lingen (fourth, 17:45.2), Windom’s Cameron Alm (fifth, 17:46.3), PA’s Caden Strasser (sixth, 17:59.6), Windom’s Patrick Green (seventh, 18:01.3), PA’s Jacob Morgan (ninth, 18:25.0) and PA’s Aaron Lingen (11th, 18:39.9).

In the girls’ race, Luverne runners Regan Feit (third, 20:37.2), Brooklyn VerSteeg (fourth, 20:48.6), Jenna DeBates (sixth, 20:54.4) and Elizabeth Wagner (seventh, 21:05.1) finished within 28 seconds of each other.

Other area girls among the first 15 included Windom’s Gracie Bucher (fifth, 20:52), PA’s Naomi Wallace (eighth, 21:15.6), Adrian’s Moriah Bullerman (ninth, 21:27.2) and Luverne runners Grace Ingebretson (14th, 22:11.7) and Kayla Bloemendaal (15th, 22:42.0).

Windom runners Emma Holtz (girls, 14:40.2) and Aaden Nauman (boys, 12:16.3) won the two junior high races, completing a 3,200-meter course.

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