Gehl’s first-place finish leads Warriors fourth-place team performance at state

Strong supporting runs help MCC/Fulda girls outrun 12 Class A teams

By: Les Knutson

Murray County News Sports

Once again getting a first-place performance by state champion Morgan Gehl, along with strong supporting runs by the rest of the well-balanced varsity squad of seven, the Murray County Central / Fulda girls ran to a stellar fourth-place team finish at the Minnesota High School Class A state meet in Northfield Saturday, November 2.

The Warriors, who entered the 16-team meet as the state’s third-ranked Class A girls’ team, outran 12 of the qualifying squads and came within 11 points of being awarded third-place bronze medals.

Leading the MCC / Fulda effort on the St. Olaf College 5,000-meter course was an individual state championship run by junior ace Morgan Gehl. Her extraordinary race is highlighted in a separate story.

By winning the race with her time of 17:53.5, Gehl — as usual — scored just one point for the Warriors, meaning that MCC / Fulda would really only have four higher scores to count (to add to the mere one point claimed by  Morgan).

Gehl won the 176-runner Class A race by 27.2 seconds and finished with the third-best girls’ time of the entire day.

Only two Class AA runners — champion Annalee Weaver of Stillwater (17:46.1) and runner-up Abbey Nechanicky of Wayzata (17:52.8, barely) — ran faster times. The third-place AA finisher, Anna Fenske of Farmington, ran the course in 17:58.5, as just four of the 351 total finishers completed the distance in less than 18 minutes.

“That’s a remarkable accomplishment,” summed up long-time Warriors’ cross country coach Dominick Damm. “According to those times, Morgan is definitely among the best four girls’ cross country runners in the whole state. She won the Class A race by a long way. It would be interesting to see how she could have done in Class AA. If pushed, I would bet on her being able to slice seven seconds off and challenge the double-A champion, too.” 

Backing up the lead run of Gehl, who won all 11 of her races this season, were freshman Ashley Overgaauw (20:02.3), freshman Amanda Overgaauw (20:03.8), eighth-grader Brylei Schreier (20:34.8), sophomore Ella Stapek (21:22.0), sophomore Ryanna Schreier (21:47.0) and junior Josie Harms (21:55.9) who finished in team places 26-27-45-66-79-86, respectively.

Adding up the places of the top five (1-26-27-45-66) yielded a team score of 165, which was better than 12 of the participating teams, but behind the best three.

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