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Warriors Win at Last Home Meet of the Season

By Josie Harms, Student Reporter

SLAYTON, MN -- Out of all the cross country courses in the region, Slayton’s course is by far the most difficult. Many people have heard of the infamous hill “Big Bertha,” but there are two other hills on the course that all runners dread. “Buela” and “Braxton” might not be as steep as “Big Bertha,” but they are extremely long and just as painful. All of these set-backs made for an exciting yet competitive meet on Thursday, September 17. Unlike the previous home meet, spectators were permitted to view the race and cheer on the Warriors. This was greatly appreciated by all of the runners as the cheering and encouragement helped them push through the long race. 

Due to COVID-19 precautionary restrictions, only 25 runners were allowed on the starting line at a time. As a result, the varsity races had to be run in two separate heats with all the results being combined at the very end. On the boys’ side, the Warriors had 6 runners in the top ten. This exceptional performance resulted in a first place team finish for the Murray County Central/Fulda team. With a second place finish and a time of 18:28, Isaiah Kathman led these boys to victory--only seconds behind Heron Lake/Okabena’s Tim Salentiny. Carter Benda and Evan Bumgardner were the next two Warriors to cross the finish line with times of 19:32 and 19:49 respectively. Just seconds apart, Caleb Appel (20:16), Dylan Kramer (20:24), Tanner Graphenteen (20:25), and Brock Smith (20:30) claimed 8th place through 11th place for the boys’ team, which resulted in a total team score of 29 points. With Heron Lake/Okabena being a full 17 points behind them, the Warrior boys easily won their last home meet of the season.

For senior Morgan Gehl, it was the last time running at the Slayton Country Club. After 6 years in cross country, she will never have to run up “Big Bertha” again. “To be honest,” Gehl remarked, “I am glad it was my last time. This course is tough!” Even though it was a difficult course, she ran an astounding race and crossed the line with a time of 18:36. Her teammates, Ashley and Amanda Overgaauw, were the only runners in front of her, and they both finished with a time of 18:12. Although the record book says they tied, the sisters both agree that Ashley won by a mere stride-length. It wasn’t until a couple minutes later that Josie Harms crossed the finish line at a time of 22:00. With only one Southwest Christain/Edgerton runner in the top 5, the MCC/F girls were only 1 point away from getting a perfect score again. Victoria Pierson (22:09), Brylei Schreier (22:10), and Abby Loosbrock (22:22) placed 6th, 7th, and 8th, which helped secure the Warrior girls’ smashing victory.

Being the only complete team in attendance, the junior high boys managed to finish first place as well. Jackson Kramer had a notable run as he tied for first place with Southwest Christian Edgerton’s Eli Van Iperen. Crossing the line only seconds later with a time of 7:21, Zach Kirchner claimed the third place spot, and Keegan Spittle (7:25) also finished in the top half. Three junior high girls--Courtney Gengler, Sophia Nelson, and Emma Risacher--competed for the Warriors, and their times were all faster than the last time they competed at Slayton’s course.

Winning 3 of the 4 races, it truly was a successful meet for the Warriors. Only 4 more races remain in the short season, and the MCC/F cross country team is eager to run their next meet at the Fulda Golf Course on Tuesday, September 22.

Boys Team Standings: 1st Murray County Central/Fulda (29), 2nd Heron Lake/Okabena (46), 3rd Southwest Christain/Edgerton (58)

Girls Team Standings: Murray County Central/Fulda (16), Southwest Christain/Edgerton (47), Incomplete team - Heron Lake/Okabena