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Willmar team will make run for national laurels

WILLMAR -- The Willmar boys cross-country team may have wrapped up the high school season Nov. 5 at Northfield, but there's plenty of racing left for the state champions.

Under the sponsorship of the Winged Foot Running Club, eight team members, under volunteer coach Bryan Borgos, will compete at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wis., on Nov. 26 and also at the Nike Team Nationals on Dec. 3 in Portland, Oregon.

While the Foot Locker meet is open to all high school runners, the newly created Nike event is by invitation only.

The Willmar team is one of two selected from the Heartland Region. The other is Yankton, S.D., which beat the Cardinals by one point in Sioux Falls, S.D., in September. Yankton and Lakeville, which won the Class AA girls title (as Lakeville North) were selected in the girls division.

Nike pays all expenses of the club teams. Twenty boys and 20 girls' teams will compete.

High school coaches are not involved.

The Winged Foot club team will be composed of the seven state runners: Juniors Kaafi Adeys, Abdi Awale, Mohammed Bedel and Mustufa Yusuf and seniors Mike Switzer, Dustin Geselius and Paul Kimpling. Also running will be senior Jeff Sawatzky, an alternate at state.

The four Foot Locker regionals are qualifiers for the 27th annual national meet at Balboa Park in San Diego on Dec. 10.

Also planning to run at Kenosha is Nikki Swenson of Dawson. She is a two-time state runner-up and the 2003 Class A champion running for Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd.