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Willmar boys nab first section crown

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Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. BONIFACIUS -- Can anyone stop the Willmar Express?

The Cardinals' cross-country team, rated No. 1 all season in the boys' rankings, won its seventh meet of the fall on Thursday, capturing the Section 2AA championship in impressive fashion.

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It was Willmar's first section title ever in the sport.

Abdi Awale led a Willmar freight train across the finish at Crown College. He was first, followed by Kaafi Adeys in second, Mustafa Yusuf in third, Mike Switzer in sixth and Mohamed Bedel in ninth.

The scant 21 points crushed the field, though second-place Chaska with 72 will also advance to the Class AA state meet at Northfield on Nov. 5. Willmar was the surprising runner-up there a year ago but this year goes in as the team to beat.

It was the fifth win for Awale, a junior three-sport athlete and the Central Lakes Conference individual champion. Adeys, who has two firsts this season and three seconds to Awale, was only .6 seconds behind his teammate at 15:57.5 and 15:58.1 for 5,000 meters.

The top three finishers are all juniors. Yusuf, in third, came in at 16:17. Switzer and Bedel also made the top 10 while Scott Boros placed 14tgh and Paul Kimpling 21st in a field of 103 finishers.

"It was the first time this year that Abdi and Kaafi broke 16 minutes," said Willmar coach Diusa Daucsavage. "It wasn't a real easy course either. It wasn't necessarily a real hard course, but it was fairly challenging."

Willmar's youthful girls team finished a respectable sixth among 15 teams. Rachael Nelson, the lone senior, led with a 23rd-place finish in 16:07 for 4,000 meters.

Jayne Cole led three eighth graders and then a ninth grader coming next for Willmar.

Sophomore Brooke Wyffels in first (14:44) led Marshall to the team title. Prior Lake also qualified. Six of the top 10 finishers were either seventh- or eighth-graders.

Besides being second in both the section and state races in 2004, the boys' teams finished second in both 1991 and '92.

BOYS

Team scoring

(1) Willmar 21 (2) Chaska 72 (3) Hutchinson 98 (4) Buffalo 146 (5) Waseca 182 (6) Mound-Westonka 183 (7) Mankato West 184 (8) Shakopee 245 (9) Marshall 252 (10) Mankato East 261 (11) New Prague 269 (12) Prior Lake 275 (13) Dassel-Cokato 355 (14) Waconia 291 (15) Worthington 394

Individual

STATE QUALIFIERS -- (1) Abdi Awale, Wil, 15:57.5 (2) Kaafi Adeys, Wil, 15:58.1 (3) Mustafa Yusuf, Wil, 16:17 (4) Bryan Kegley, Hut, 16:20 (5) Jon Tauer, Mar, 16:28 (6) Mike Switzer, Wil, 16:31 (7) Keagan Marble, Was, 16:34 (8) Pat Lowder, Cha, 16:34 (9) Mohamed Bedel, Wil, 16:38. (10) Kyle Schmidt, Hut, 16:44

WILLMAR -- (1) Awale (2) Adeys (3) Yusuf (6) Switzer (9) Bedel (14) Scott Boros 17:17 (21) Paul Kimpling 17:25.

GIRLS

Team scoring

(1) Marshall 61 (2) Prior Lake 82 (3) Waseca 83 (4) Chaska 98 (5) New Praque 160 (6) Willmar 177 (7) Mankato East 206 (8) Mound-Westonka 232 (9) Hutchinson 237 (10) Shakopee 240 (11) Mankato West 271 (12) Buffalo 316 (13) Worthington 351 (14) Waconia 360 (15) Dassel-Cokato 412

Individual

STATE QUALIFIERS -- (1) Brooke Wyffels, Mar, 14:44.7 (2) Megan Lundgren, ME, 15:09 (3) Meghan Heuer, PL, 15:10 (4) Dani Burke, Was, 15:12 (5) Laura Hughes, MW, 15:13 (6) Katelyn Meger, NP, 15:14 (7) Alexis Boyd, Mar, 15:15 (8) Kaila Urick, Cha, 15:221 (9) Julia Harrison, MW, 15:22 (10) Hannah McRaith, Was, 15:23.

WILLMAR -- (23) Rachael Nelson 16:07 (32) Jayne Cole 16:25 (37) Danielle Erickson 16:36 (38) Jackie Johnson 16:37 (47) Ashley Bach 16:52 (50) Brin Hanson 16:58 (55) Britta Pederson 17:05

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