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FALL PREVIEW: Warriors ready to make another trip to state

Independent file photo Members of the Murray County Central/Fulda girls cross country team start the Class A state meet on Nov. 2, 2019. No team photo was available at press time.

SLAYTON — Last season, the Murray County Central/Fulda cross country team set some history not only at a team level, but at an individual one as well. The MCC/Fulda girls team qualified for its first state meet in program history (placing fourth), and Morgan Gehl became the first girls cross country runner and second overall runner since 1976 in school history to take home a state championship.

“It was an awesome feeling; this is my 17th year coaching and this is the first time I’ve gotten a team to the state meet,” coach Dominick Damm said after the meet last November at St. Olaf College in Northfield. “I’ve gotten third place (at sections) more times than I can count, so it’s a really good feeling to finally get here with the whole team.

We don’t have any seniors, so hopefully this is a learning experience and we get to have this be a base for next year.”

This year, the Warriors will look to repeat their success at the state level with a roster loaded with youthful talent with Damm at the helm. All of the runners on the girls side from the state team a year ago are returning. Leading the way will be Gehl, along with Ashley and Amanda Overgaauw, Brylei and Ryanna Schreier, Ella Stapek and Josie Harms. Victoria Pierson will also contribute to MCC/Fulda’s times this season.

While MCC/Fulda will have a lot of familiar faces on the girls side, the boys team will have some new ones going into the season including Carter Benda, who joined the team after the football season was postponed until the spring. Joining Benda on the boys side will be Isaiah Kathman, John Olsem, Derek Kluis, Dante Damm, Ryan Risacher and Rylan Engelkes.

In its first meet of the season, MCC/Fulda was able to get out to a strong start, placing first on the girls side with a score of 21 while the boys team took second with a score of 51. The Warriors will continue their season on Saturday with a meet in Butterfield.

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