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Turkey Day 10K: Runners with local ties capture 10K race titles

LES KNUTSONDaily Globe WORTHINGTON -- A pair of former collegiate distance-running aces claimed individual titles Saturday morning at the 37th annual running of the King Turkey Day 10K. Jeff Stuckenbroker, 30, of rural Lakefield -- a 2004 graduat...

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Jeff Stuckenbroker, from Lakefield, crosses the finish line as the overall winner of the Turkey Day 10K road race. He finished with a time of 32:39:94.

LES KNUTSON
Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON -- A pair of former collegiate distance-running aces claimed individual titles Saturday morning at the 37th annual running of the King Turkey Day 10K.

Jeff Stuckenbroker, 30, of rural Lakefield -- a 2004 graduate of Windom High School where he excelled in cross country, wrestling and track -- pulled away from challenger Benson Langat, 26, of Sioux Falls, S.D., after the two-mile mark and cruised to the overall victory with a time of 32:39.94 over the 6.2-mile distance.

“I felt comfortable and realized the pace was a bit slower than I wanted to run,” said Stuckenbroker, who ran cross country and track at the University of South Dakota and Minnesota State University, Mankato. “We (Langat and I) ran side-by-side for the first two miles and then I just speeded up after I heard the two-mile time was 10:40. I was hoping to run 5:10 pace, not 5:20.”

Stuckenbroker finished with an average mile pace of 5:16, hitting the five-mile mark at 26:10, 53 seconds ahead of Langat.

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“I last ran here in 2010,” said Stuckenbroker, who ran for MSU, Mankato in the 2007 NCAA Division II National Cross Country Meet in Joplin, Mo, as the Mavericks’ third runner, finishing 41st overall. “That was a faster race and I ended up fifth with a time about 40 seconds better than today (31:56, averaging 5:09 per mile).

Stuckenbroker’s winning time was more than a minute faster than last year’s first-place time of 33:55.13. Langat (33:50.76) also bettered the best time run in 2015.

A more recent college cross country athlete, 28-year-old Kristin Brondbo of Sioux Falls, who is married to former Trojan athlete Joe Klumper (Class of 2005), impressively won the women’s race Saturday, finishing seventh overall with a time of 37:46.53 -- more than 80 seconds faster than defending women’s champion Jennifer Vande Vegte, 39, of Sioux Center, Iowa.

Vande Vegte (39:26.96, 10th overall) ran nearly an identical time last year (39:26.33) when she finished seventh overall.

For Brondbo, who in late July breezed to a victory in Worthington’s YMCA Fun Run, starting and ending at Olson Park, Saturday’s run around Lake Okabena felt good.

“It was a fun run with just about perfect weather for running,” she said after receiving congratulations from several of her family members on the Klumper side. “I ran very controlled early and was able to pass a few guys on the last couple of miles and finish strong.”

Brondbo was at 30:36 at the five-mile mark and she ended up averaging 6:05 per mile Saturday, while Vande Vegte clipped an average pace of 6:21 for the second year in a row.

Originally from Norway, Brondbo ran for Augustana University in Sioux Falls and finished 15th in the 2011 NCAA Nationals in Spokane, Washington, helping the Vikings win the national title as the team’s third runner.

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A total of 290 runners -- 146 men and 144 women -- completed the course this year with the first 12 finishers (10 men and two women) running the distance under 40 minutes.

Dundee’s Isaiah Olsem, 18, utilized a strong last mile to claim third place overall (37:04.32) as he caught Heron Lake’s Logan Knutson, 17, just after the five-mile mark. Knutson, who was at 29:56 at five miles, finished fourth (37:19.47).

Crossing the line fifth overall was Robert Finke, 53, of Fridley (37:31.73, 6:03 pace). Finke was a high school distance-running ace for Worthington back in the early 1980s.

Spencer Davis, 23, Chaska (37:43.42) was sixth, finishing between Finke and Brondbo.

Also running the course under 40 minutes were Worthington’s Adam Koller, 14, (eighth, 38:03.93), Adrian’s Travis Schettler, 34, (ninth, 38:58.29), Worthington’s Derrik Larson (11th, 39:41.75) and Jackson’s Mark Kocak, 55, (12th, 39:49.51, 6:25 pace).

Age Group Winners

As Worthington’s first overall finisher, Koller easily won the men’s 14-and-under age group. Alec Langerud, 12, Worthington (46:31.25), and Pierce Hetland, 11, Spirit Lake, Iowa (49:37.68), were the silver and bronze medalists. Olsem and Knutson were 1-2 in the 15-19 male age group, while Jackson Bonnett, 16, Worthington (40:08.64), was third.

Langat and Davis were the first two in the men’s 20-29 age bracket, and the bronze medalist was Lee Fast, 28, Hermantown (43:35.87). Stuckenbroker topped the field in the 30-39 age group, while Schettler (silver) and Larson (bronze) also claimed medals. Worthington’s Seth DeGroot, 31, was a close fourth (14th overall, 40:12.67).

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Cory Strasser, 43, Pipestone (15th overall, 40:51.30); David Serrano, 46, Worthington (42:19.57) and Jason Kloss, 45, Windom (43:15.92) were the top three in the 40-49 age group. Finke, Kocak and Bruce Juber, 57, Worthington (43:54.56), were the medalists in the 50-59 bracket.

Wayne Drealan, 63, of Fulda -- who has run in all 37 Turkey Day 10Ks -- finished first in the men’s 60-69 division with a time of 45:00.67. Douglas Bakkene, 62, Worthington (46:36.41), and Robert Strandberg, 69, Brooklyn Park (50:47.86), claimed silver and bronze, respectively.                     

Gary Patton, 70, Rock Rapids, Iowa (27th overall), ran a blistering time of 43:56.91 (7:05 mile pace) to win the 70-79 division, while Jim Andringa, 74, Sanborn, Iowa (59:01.26), Preston Ver Meer, 71, Brandon, S.D. (1:08:52.49) and Rodney Nickel, 76, Windom (1:12:45.29) also completed the distance.

Fritz Korthals, 80, of Worthington --- despite shaking his share of hands down the final blocks -- averaged 12:05 per mile and won the 80-and-over gold medal with a time of 1:15.04.81.

“I’ve jogged and biked a lot of miles,” said Korthals, who indicated that this may be his last Turkey Day 10K. “I’ve covered enough miles to go around the earth more than once.”

Women’s age-group medalists included Nichole Evers, 17, Minneota (first 15-19, 1:06.58.73), and the trio of Brondbo, Leah Hartung, 29, of Fairmont, (46:06.71), and Kourtney Leuthold, 25, of Rushmore (46:28.15) in the 20-29 bracket.

Vande Vegte, Luverne’s Amy Feit, 36 (24th overall, third woman, 43:42.87) and Amanda DeYounge, 30, Worthington (45:18.86) were the medalists in the 30-39 age division.

Amy Tripp, 42, Brandon (47:46.62), Sharon Tiepkes, 49, Sibley, Iowa (49:57.40), and America Voss, 40, Worthington (50:06.88), were the top three finishers in the 40-49 women’s group, while the trio of Kim Hinkeldey, 55, Jackson (56:09.99), Michelle Vajgrt, 53, Luverne (56:19.14), and Lisa Sampson, 50, Worthington (57:33.14) were the 50-59 medalists.

Running a terrific time of 44:55.99 (33rd overall, fourth among all women), 61-year-old Andriette Wickstrom of Storm Lake, Iowa, was the top finisher in the 60-69 division. Joan Schafer, 62, Rosemount (Okabena High School, Class of 1972) was second (54:51.57), while Mary Strandberg, 62, Brooklyn Park (1:03.02.73) was third.

Brondbo, Vande Vegte, Feit, Wickstrom, DeYounge, Luverne’s Stephanie Hoven, 37 (45:47.98), Hartung, Leuthold, Tripp and Christina Sorensen, 28, Worthington (47:47.91) were the top 10 overall women’s finishers.

Complete results are available at http://tinyurl.com/ktd10k5k or on the Turkey Day 10K website.

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Kristin Brondbo of Sioux Falls, S.D., focuses on the finish line (and not on her young fans awaiting her arrival) as she concludes the King Turkey Day 10K with the top women's time of 37:46:53.

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