Cross country teams place in top three at state
Published: Thursday, October 25th, 2012
The cross country season ended Saturday with the anticipated Class A State Cross Country meet in Huron, where both the boys and girls teams took home awards in the top three standings.
While the final coaches poll ranked the boys team at third place coming in, they repeated as runner-up, just 16 points behind first place Madison. Spearfish, who finished a point behind Custer at the Regional meet, placed third at state with a 14-point margin.
“They raced well,” coach Karen Karim said. “I said going into the meet that they were going to have to step it up even more to make the podium. And they really did.”
Once again, Logan Burns and Hot Springs runner Eric Yager battled for first place and pulled out ahead of the rest of the leaders half way through the race. Burns and Yager ran stride for stride for the last 500 meters until Yager used the lone hill to distance himself from Burns. Yager finished nearly 10 seconds ahead of Burns, who finished in a time of 17:07.
“Logan looked outstanding,” Karim said. “Both these boys are juniors so next year will definitely be interesting.”
Junior Brennan Witt ran his best race of the season, breaking into the top 10 with his ninth place finish in the time of 17:44. Witt’s race, along with teammates Chris Pinkerton and Shane Herman, proved to be vital for the team race. Pinkerton placed 29th with a time of 18:12 while Herman placed 39th with a time of 18:23.
“These boys put everything on the line, and it turned out to be enough,” Karim said. “Chris finished just five seconds out of the medals and Shane improved by almost a minute from his first race in Huron.”
Tyler Jones also ran his best race of the season, placing 50th, with a time of 18:34 and Matt Dvorak finished with a time of 19:30, 92nd place, after setting a fast early pace for the other boys.
“It was a great team effort, and I’m sure people around the state will be watching for them again next year,” Karim said.
The Wildcats will be losing four seniors from the boys team: Chris Pinkerton, Tyler Jones, Logan Huntington and Cody Herman.
“We still return a strong core of experienced runners and some talented middle school boys,” Karim said.
The final coach’s poll ranked the girls team fifth. Instead, the girls brought home third place, just three points away from second place finisher Garretson. Spearfish, as expected, won the state title.
“For this group of girls, this was a great accomplishment,” Karim said. “With only one senior the girls put out in effort what they lacked in experience.”
Freshman Jazmin Hitshew led the girls team with her ninth place finish with a gutsy race, passing people the entire way to earn her top 10 spot in her first state meet appearance. Hitshew ran her race in 15:50. Sophomore Mattisen Kelley earned her second state meet medal by placing 24th in a time of 16:17, one place better than last year.
Seventh grader Tori Glazier ran 16:38 and earned 36th place while Ashlee Eggers improved upon her time from the first Huron race by over a minute to place 53rd in a time of 17:01. Eggers also rounded out scoring for the Wildcats, which was key to the girls’ third place finish.
Seventh grader Annie Antonio followed closely behind in 57th place, finishing with a time of 17:08. Senior Victoria Dahlstrom finished in 67th place with a time of 17:19.
“These girls ran well all season, being overshadowed in the Black Hills Conference and Region by the two-time state champs Spearfish,” Karim said. “But this team proved at state that they are one of the better teams in the state.”
The girls team will only be losing one with Dahlstrom.
“Victoria leaves some pretty big shoes to fill,” Karim said. “She undisputedly led this team through every practice and at every meet, even when she wasn’t our top runner. That kind of leadership is what paved the way for what the team accomplished.”
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