PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Dragon domination: Adrian girls get 5 of the top 8, including first-place finish by Jordin Kopplow

WORTHINGTON -- As expected Adrian's Jordin Kopplow breezed to an easy individual victory Thursday afternoon as the smooth-running sophomore impressively won the girls' varsity race at the 43rd annual Turkey Trot high school cross country meet at ...

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Dragon Jordin Kopplow leads the pack of runners during the early portion of Thursday afternoon's cross country meet at Prairie View Golf Links in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- As expected Adrian's Jordin Kopplow breezed to an easy individual victory Thursday afternoon as the smooth-running sophomore impressively won the girls' varsity race at the 43rd annual Turkey Trot high school cross country meet at Prairie View Golf Links.

Kopplow, who is the state's No. 1 ranked runner in Class A, covered the 4,000-meter distance in 15 minutes, 25 seconds -- winning by 28 seconds over St. James junior Cheyanne Bowers, who is ranked No. 7 in the same class.

"I was able to open up a bit of a lead and hold it," Kopplow said after winning her third straight race of the season. "I was feeling good the whole way and I am happy about how well my teammates are running."

Undefeated after three meets, Kopplow was exactly right about her teammates -- they were amazing.

After Bowers entered the chute, clocked at 15:53, the Dragons captured the next three places and then ever-improving Adrian eighth-grader Morgan Sauer clinched the Turkey Trot team title for AHS by finishing eighth with a time of 16:45.


With 73 other runners still on the course, Adrian already had five girls in the chute and the dominating Dragons had a remarkable score of 21 (1-3-4-5-8) and their third team championship of the season.

"Morgan, she's improved a whole lot," praised Kopplow about her younger teammate. "And Austyn (Thier) ran really well today. It's so good to have her back."

Thier, an all-around athletic junior, missed all of last season with an injured knee. But she is back in fine form this year and ran to a strong third-place finish Thursday, running the course in 16:07.

"Austyn went out a little faster early in the race," explained AHS head coach John Olson. "She ran third nearly the entire race and then both Megan (Sauer) and Nicole (Slater) moved up progressively and gave us three finishers in a row."

Megan Sauer, a sophomore, won the battle for fourth-place -- by a long ways -- clocking a time of 16:13.

Slater, a freshman, moved past several runners and finished fifth (16:32), giving Adrian four of the top five.

"Megan and Nicole each ran faster later in the race," Olson said. "And with the way Morgan has improved, we have a legitimate fifth runner -- which is really a key to team success."

Running lots of summer miles also helps, as evidenced by the Sauer sisters -- Megan, Morgan and senior Alyssa (Adrian's sixth runner, who finished 16th with a time of 17:32).


"The Sauer sisters each ran 400 miles this summer," summed up Olson. "That might explain their continued improvement."

Last year, Adrian's winning score at the Turkey Trot was 46, while Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin was a competitive second with 61 points.

This year, there was a 59-point spread between first and second, as Minnesota's No. 1 ranked Class A team left no doubt about who the superior team was.

Alyssa Sauer, for example, was Adrian's sixth runner. But she would have been a top two team finisher on seven of the other nine competing squads and would have been the lead runner on two of the teams.

JCC gets second as Holthe and Bezdicek shine in varsity debut

Jackson County Central, led by the side-by-side finishes of eighth-grader Jade Holthe (17:01) and seventh-grader Jadin Bezdicek (17:03) in 10th and 11th places, respectively, edged Martin County West, 80-81, for second place in the team standings.

"We are really happy about finishing second as a team with our young girls," exclaimed JCC co-head coach Kerri Kocak prior to the post-race awards ceremony. "We had four girls finish in the top 17 and our top two were battling for the final individual trophy. It was neat to see how well we competed."

Backing up the lead runs of Holthe and Bezdicek were Leslie Handzus (14th, 17:26), Megan Johnson (17, 17:36) and Angela Handzus (28, 18:31).


"Jade and Jadin ran second and fourth in the junior high race at the big Montgomery meet last week," JCC co-head coach Brad Strom said after the awards were given out. "So, we knew they had potential. But this was the first varsity race for each of them and they both ran a super race."

ML/B-O, led by the outstanding sixth-place finish of eighth-grader Lydia Hildebrandt (16:38) was fourth in the team standings with 102 points, while Windom -- paced by senior Emily Turner (seventh, 16:41) -- was fifth with a score of 141.

St. James (157), Murray County Central (183), Worthington (184) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (209) also had complete team scores, while Pipestone Area did not have five finishing runners.

MCC's Lexy Gleis claimed the ninth-place trophy in 16:49.

Cham, Jaycox, Potter, Suby, Lopez all run course under 20:00

All five of Worthington's scoring runners covered the distance in less than 20 minutes Thursday, drawing satisfication from Trojans' head coach Ken Henkels.

Sarah Cham (26, 18:26) and Stephanie Jaycox (32, 18:44) each bettered the 19-minute mark, while the trio of Sade Potter (37, 19:11), Kari Suby (43, 19:40) and Ariana Lopez (46, 19:45) completed the scoring for the Trojans.

"Kari really had a strong finish today," praised Henkels. "She moved passed Ariana and several other runners late in the race. Those two (Suby and Lopez) have been kind of trading off in the races and that's helping each of them improve."


Potter, a first-year freshman, ran another good race as she finished third for WHS.

"We're happy with how she is running," Henkels said. "We felt good about how all five of our scorers ran in today's meet."

Kinzie Myrom (21:06), Tyree Murray (21:18), Mariah Haffield (21:45), Jennifer Majerus (21:46) and Whitney Prins (26:03) also completed the varsity course for the Trojans.

Moore, Darling, Ebbers finish 5-6-7 in junior high race

Ashley Lahti of St. James won the 1,600-meter junior high race in a time of 6:17, finishing 17 seconds ahead of teammate Ashely Cuellar.

T-M-B runners Elodie Tholen and Tori Pals finished third and fourth, respectively, with identical times of 6:36.

A trio of Worthington runners -- Meredith Moore (6:39), Alicia Darling (6:44) and Olivia Ebbers (6:58) -- were the next three girls to enter the finish chute, each earning a top-10 finisher medal.


Group of girls
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Dragon Megan Sauer (right) leads Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin's Lydia Hildebrandt (center) and Murray County Central's Lexy Gleis during Thursday's meet in Worthington.

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