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Overgaauw, Walu cop Turkey Trot individual crowns

Murray County Central/Fulda runner Amanda Overgaauw easily won the girls varsity Turkey Trot race in Worthington Thursday, and the Trojans' Mikele Walu was a solid winner on the boys' side

Worthington Trojans Mikele Walu stays just ahead of teammate Fanuel Wolday during the Turkey Trot cross country race in Worthington Thursday.
Worthington Trojans Mikele Walu stays just ahead of teammate Fanuel Wolday during the Turkey Trot cross country race in Worthington Thursday.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- Amanda Overgaauw was winded Thursday afternoon after placing a predictable first in the girls varsity Turkey Trot cross country race in Worthington. But the exertion was well worth it.

Gusty winds are typical at Prairie View, and though the winds weren’t overwhelming on Thursday, they had an effect on parts of the 5,000-meter course.

“That wind took a lot out of me,” Overgaauw said after finishing in an outstanding time of 17:24.71. “But I really wanted a PR today, and I did it by 12 seconds. It’s our second meet this week, and I came in really sore. I just wanted to give it all I had, and it was a windy day.”

Murray County Central Warriors Amanda Overgaauw sets a demanding pace at the halfway point during Turkey Trot cross country race at the Worthington Regional Park Thursday evening.
Murray County Central/Fulda runner Amanda Overgaauw sets a demanding pace at the halfway point during the Turkey Trot cross country race.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Overgaauw was a junior last year when she captured the Minnesota state Class A girls championship easily in a clocking of 18:09.13. She has high hopes again this fall.

“I feel really good. I feel I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. My goal is to defend my state title,” she said at Prairie View.

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Amanda and her twin sister Ashley -- who placed third at the Turkey Trot -- try to run every day even in the off-season. “She motivates me,” Amanda said of her sister. Amanda said she went to two camps in the summer, one at Winona State University for a week, then another at Western Colorado University.

While the Overgaauws were outstanding as expected Thursday, so were the Worthington High School boys. The defending section AA champions are looking to get to state again this season, and they’re consistently winning meets.

Murray County Central Warriors Amanda and Ashley Overgaauw (from left) take the lead early as Windom Eagles Kaylee Walklin watches  them pull away at the start of the Turkey Trot cross country race at the Worthington Regional Park Thursday evening.
Murray County Central/Fulda's Amanda and Ashley Overgaauw (from left) take a lead early as the Windom Area Eagles' Kaylee Walklin stays close behind at the start of the Turkey Trot cross country race Thursday.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

At the Turkey Trot, the Trojan boys finished 1-2-4 with Mikele Walu winning it all in 15:38.96, Fanuel Wolday second in 15:42.19, and Filmon Wolday fourth in 16:18.90. The WHS team was also first with 33 points, ahead of runner-up Windom Area (67), Murray County Central/Fulda (73), Fairmont (107), Butterfield-Odin (125), St. James Area (129), Adrian/Ellsworth (222), Pipestone Area (226), Heron Lake-Okabena (230) and Wabasso (246).

Walu checked his watch just before he entered the chute on Thursday.

“We knew the course was a little short. I never broke 16 before, so I thought it would be real cool to break 16,” he explained later.

Coming down to the final stretch, Walu assumed he was well out in front and he thought there was no point to sprinting. But his teammate Fanuel got behind him and passed. So Walu sprinted to the chute.

“He came up. We were talking about it for a while. We both wanted to break 16. So I appreciate that,” Walu said.

Last year Walu, now a senior, was running with a sore ankle in the fall. This year is different.

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“I feel great. I feel amazing, actually. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in as good a shape. But I definitely want to do better than this,” he said, then turning his attention to the team. “I think my job as a leader this year is to motivate the guys, that we can definitely do this. We’re there. We’re there.”

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The Worthington Trojans earned their highest ever place at a Minnesota Class A True Team meet with a score of 174.525. Big Lake won the meet with a score of 176.2.

Ryan Pierson of Butterfield-Odin was third overall in the boys varsity race, in 16:02.17. St. James Area’s Levi Miest was fifth in 16:28.43. Rounding out 6-10 were Tim Salentiny of Heron Lake-Okabena (16:44.99), Evan Bumgardner of MCC/Fulda (16:55.12), Ofbeka Morke of Worthington (16:58.42), Aaden Nauman of Windom Area (17:08.98) and Thomas Green of Windom Area (17:16.93).

Macy Hanson of Fairmont finished second for the girls (18:12.72), Kaylee Walklin of Windom Area was fourth (18:36.28) and Brylei Schreier of MCC/Fulda was fifth (20:11.05). Girls 6-10 were Trejo Esqueda of St. James Area (21:03.52), Taylor Post of Pipestone Area (21:16.51), Sophia Nelson of MCC/Fulda (21:20.48), Alivia Fruechte of Pipestone Area (21:26.03) and Carys Gudahl of Fairmont (21:31.18).

Worthington’s top girl finisher was Madison Sieve, 25th at 23:51.34. Teammate Kenadie Thiner was 35th in 24:41.67 and the Trojans’ Anaka Wede was 39th in 25:28.47 and Florence Balash 45th in 26:22.14.

Murray County Central/Fulda scored 28 points to win the girls varsity team competition. Pipestone Area had 73, Adrian/Ellsworth 101, Fairmont and St. James Area 114, Windom Area 121, Wabasso 139 and Worthington 184.

Related Topics: CROSS COUNTRY
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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Friday night high school sports roundup:
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WORTHINGTON – The top 10 teams in Minnesota Class A high school gymnastics will be in Worthington on Saturday (Jan. 28) for the state True Team meet. Participating teams are Becker, Benson, Big Lake, Byron, Detroit Lakes, Mankato West, Melrose, New London-Spicer, St. Peter, and Worthington.
Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.