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No. 1's strut their stuff on tough course at Optimist Invite

WILLMAR -- The rolling hills that make up the back nine at the Eagle Creek Golf Club didn't make for the hardest course Willmar has run, but it came close.

"Sioux Falls was tougher because the hills were longer," said Abdi Awale, the Willmar junior who beat his teammate, Kaafi Adeys, to the finish for first place in the boys' race at the Optimist Cross-Country meet Saturday. "It was fun, but harder than Apple Valley."

Abdi won at Windrows Field in Sioux Falls two weeks earlier; last weekend Adeys, also a junior, won at Apple Valley.

"That's as hard as I've ever run," said Adeys at the end of the 5,000-meter run. "(Abdi) is getting better every meet."

The Cardinals boys and the Apple Valley girls, both No. 1's in Class AA, each won easily on the sunny, warm, breezy first day of October.

"I liked the weather, but not the hills," gasped Erin Schroeder, who finished eighth for Apple Valley.

Marshall's Brooke Wyffels, who placed fifth in Class AA last fall, won the girls' 4000-meter race in 15:11.

The meet, which had been held at the high school for the past decade, was moved back to the golf club this year to take advantage of its smooth surface and excellent viewing for fans.

Senior Rachael Nelson led the Willmar girls to third. She finished 12th in 17:13 followed by teammates 8th-grader Danielle Erickson and freshman Laura Torgerson.

Maren Greenwaldt of Minnewaska withstood a late charge by Nelson to finish 11th, the highest finish by an area runner. Cassidy Vogt in 15th and Jessica Boonstra in 16th led New London-Spicer.

Jon Tauer, the only holdover from Marshall's state championship boys team, finished third. After Tauer came Willmar's Mike Switzer, Mustafa Yusuf, Mohamed Bedel and Justin Geselius. Jordan Radel came in 10th for NLS.

Team scoring

(1) Willmar 18 (2) Apple Valley 53 (3) Marshall 91 (4) New London-Spicer 110 (5) Bloomington Trinity 127 (6) Minnewaska, incomplete


TOP FIVE -- (1) Abdi Awale, Wil, 16:44 (2) Kaafi Adeys, Wil, 16:52 (3) Jon Tauer, Mar, 17:03 (4) Michael Switzer, Wil, 17:23 (5) Mustafa Yusuf, Wil, 17:28

MINNEWASKA -- (19) Alex Humbert 19:52 (25) Willie Pasche 20:47

NEW LONDON-SPICER -- (10) Jordan Radel 18;34 (22) Billy Dean 20:09 (23) Chris Tengwall 20:35 (26) Luke Lagergren 20:48 (29) Brenden Ruter 21:06

WILLMAR -- (1) Awale (2) Adeys (4) Switzer (5) Yusuf (6) Mohamed Bedel 17:45 (7) Dustin Geselius 17:49 (15) Paul Kimpling 19:14


Team scoring

(1) Apple Valley 23 (2) Marshall 46 (3) Willmar 78 (4) New London-Spicer 96 (5) Minnewaska, incomplete


TOP FIVE -- (1) Brooke Wyffels, Mar, 15:11 (2) Jennifer Lange, AV, 15:49 (3) Jennifer Rogers, AV, 16:05 (4) Sierra McCauley, AV, 16:18 (5) Laura Johnson, Mar, 16:26

MINNEWASKA -- (11) Maren Greenwaldt 17:13.05 (26) Laura Pasche 20:40 (29) Lisa Pasche 22:05 (30) Meredith Svenning 26:00

NEW LONDON-SPICER -- (15) Cassidy Vogt 17:53 (16) Jessica Boonstra 17:55 (18) Ellary Asche 18:00 (22) Laura Tiffany 18:21 (25) Tricia Soupir 20:07

WILLMAR -- (12) Rachael Nelson 17:13.35 (13) Danielle Erickson 17:25 (14) Laura Torgerson 17:43 (19) Britta Pederson 18:10 (20) Katie Homgren 18:14 (21) Jayne Cole 18:20 (23) Brin Hanson 18:37