PHOTO GALLERY: Area track and field teams compete at Worthington Invite

Apr. 26—WORTHINGTON — Thursday's Worthington Invite proved to be a very successful and memorable meet for Trojan Austin Kinser.

The Worthington High School sophomore competed in two events and won them both in style. His first event was the 400-meters, an event he's performed well at this season. He won the event in the Luverne Invite on April 5 and then had a third place finish in Marshall on April 15.

Heading into that race in chilly and windy conditions on Thursday, Kinser had the mindset of winning it again and he would do it by setting a personal record time of 51.99 seconds.

"I went into this race with one goal to win, and that was to get first place. For me, if you talk to me before that race, I was telling myself, 'time doesn't matter,'" Kinser said. "It doesn't matter because you know with this wind, I was like, 'I don't know if I can do it,' and then everything just went right. My start was perfect, my fish was perfect and everything just seemed to kind of line up."

Kinser was one of three Trojan runners who placed in the top four in the 400 meters. His teammate and brother Isaac Kinser was third with a time of 53.92 seconds and Isaiah Bates was fourth with a time of 54.21 seconds. The runner-up in the meet was Luverne's Ryan Fick, who also set a personal record in 52.53 seconds.

After a dazzling performance in the 400, Austin then competed in the 4x400 meter relays, which was the final event of the evening, along with Isaac, Permeye Okony and Welbaka Morke. He ran the final leg of the event and at the final turn was running alongside Luverne's Zach Terrio as they both approached the finish line. Austin crossed the line just before Terrio to seal the win for the Trojans in a photo finish. The margin of victory was just .05 seconds.

"When I was going down this turn, I was watching his arms and his legs," Kinser said. "I just, I kind of saw myself catching him and used that motivation to keep going. And then when I finished my first thought was, 'I think I got it.'"

Once it was confirmed that Kinser's efforts were just enough to clinch Worthington the win, the team surrounded him and began to celebrate.

"(It was) exhausting," Kinser joked about the celebration. "We're all jumping around and having fun, and I'm gassed. It's a lot of fun to have a team that comes and supports me after my victories, and it helps me feel good about what I've accomplished."

Along with Kinser's big day, there were also many Trojan athletes who put together first-place finishes throughout the meet on the boys side.

Junior Fanuel Wolday was a winner in two events as well. He won the 1600 with a time of 4:30.60 seconds, clinching the event by more than nine seconds over runner-up Owen Janiszeski of Luverne. Wolday then won the 3200 with a time of 9:55.01 as he again lapped the field. Aaden Nauman of Windom Area was the runner up by nearly 20 seconds.

In the 110-meter hurdles, sophomore Tethlouch Gach won by setting a personal-record time of 15.96 seconds. The group of Morke, Okony, Mak Lia and Jacari Swinea won the 4x400 relays with a time of 1:34.19, nearly one second ahead of runner-up Luverne.

In the team standings, Luverne edged Worthington in points as the Cardinals scored 154.25 points to the Trojans' 140. In total, Luverne won six events on the boys side.

Darius Dolo won two events for the Cardinals, in the 100 meters with a time of 11.54 seconds and then in the 200 meters in 23.32 seconds, narrowly ahead of runner-up Okony of WHS. Both of those times were personal record times for Dolo.

Dylan Ommen was the winner of the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 2:07.78 and in the 4x800 relays, Fick, Sage Veissman, Marcus Papik and Leif Ingebretsen won with a time of 8:37.38.

Elijah Woodley set a personal record in the discus, winning the event with a throw of 141 feet, 6.25 inches and Gavin DeBeer won the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 5 inches. Woodley was also the runner-up in the shot put behind Jackson Gacke of Hills-Beaver Creek.

Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian was victorious in two events on the boys side. Silas Van Essen won the 300-meter hurdles in 43.30 seconds and Grant Busker won the high jump, leading 6 feet, 2 inches.

Other individual winners on the boys side include Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda's Aiden Lorenzen in the pole vault (11 feet) and Windom Area's Job Ogeka in the triple jump (42 feet, 4.5 inches).

Luverne also placed first in the girls team standings with 181 points as Worthington placed fourth with 54 points. The Trojans' lone winner in an individual event was New Gora in the triple jump with a jump of 32 feet, 4 inches.

Other that that, the Trojans did have numerous other top three finishes throughout the girls meet.

As for the Cardinals, their girls team wound up winning eight individual events. Senior Jenna DeBates ran away with the 1600 meters in a time of 5:15.85, winning the event by more than 40 seconds. She was also the runner-up in the 800 meters.

Augusta Papik won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.57 seconds and Reinha John won the 300-meter hurdles in 48.58 seconds.

Luverne also fared well in relay events as the team of Maesa Boyenga, Anna Banck, Makena Nelson and Sarah Stegenga won in the 4x100 in 53.99 seconds. The Cardinals had teams place second in the 4x200, the 4x400 and the 4x800 as well.

Taya Johnson placed first in the shot put for LHS with a throw of 36 feet, 1.5 inches, Hannah Sneller won the discus with a throw of 93 feet, 11.75 inches, Corynn Oye won the pole vault with a vault of 9 feet, six inches and Kendra Thorson won the long jump was a leap of 15 feet, 8 inches.

Other area winners on the girls side include Alyvia Brands of E/SWC in the 100 meters, Brylei Schreier of MCC in the 200 meters and Kaylee Walklin of Windom Area in the 3200 meters.

Here is a look at the final team standings in the Worthington Invite. Complete team and individual results can be found on


1. Luverne (154.25)

2. Worthington (140)

3. Windom Area (84)

4. Edgerton/SWC (74)

5. Hills-Beaver Creek (70)

6. Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda (66.5)

7. Canby/Minneota (32)

8. Pipestone Area (30)

9. Murray County Central (20)

10. Adrian/Ellsworth (17)

11. Westbrook-Walnut Grove (12.25)


1. Luverne (181)

2. Canby/Minneota (133)

3. Edgerton/SWC (62)

4. Worthington (54)

5. Murray County Central (50)

6. Windom Area (44)

7. Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda (42)

8. Westbrook-Walnut Grove (36)

9. Pipestone Area (35.5)

10. Hills-Beaver Creek (35)

11. Adrian/Ellsworth (26.5)