Boys, girls sweep titles at home
Published: Thursday, September 26th, 2013
The cross country team had a big week, starting last Thursday with a meet in Custer. Not only was it a great day for a run, there was a large turnout for this year’s races.
“We had a large number of teams participate that do not usually travel to Custer,” said coach Karen Karim. “The competition was much harder.”
Even though teams like Sturgis, Sheridan, Buffalo and Moorcroft brought varsity squads, both the Custer boys and girls team managed to walk away with both team titles. The boys finished with 43 points while the girls team had 29.
“The boys team had a tougher go of it with our perennial rival of Newcastle finishing close behind with 51 points to our 43,” Karim said.
Logan Burns’ first place finish made it easier to grab the title. Burns finished with a time of 16:30, more than 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
“That was a personal best time for him,” Karim said. “He keeps getting faster each week, as do the rest of the boys.”
Teammates Brennan Witt, Shane Herman and Patrick Witt also finished in the top 20, proving to be more than any of the other teams could match as no other team was quite as deep as Custer. Brennan Witt took eighth with a time of 17:42 while Herman took 14th at 18:12 and Patrick Witt took 20th with 18:23 as his time.
Runners Israel Parsons and Matt Dvorak, both battling illnesses, finished 27th and 39th, respectively. Parsons’ time was 18:47 and Dvork was 19:18.
“Almost 100 boys competed in this race alone, so these boys looked strong,” Karim said. “The Custer course is challenging, with the runners facing sections of long hills, but the kids competed well.”
The girls team won its division in a bit more dominating fashion. Tori Glazier, who finished third with a time of 16:31, led the team and shaved off over 30 seconds from her season’s best time. Mattisen Kelley’s ninth place finish (17:15), Jazmin Hitshew’s 11th place finish (17:29), Julianne Thomsen’s 15th place finish (18:00) and Emmalee Hollick’s 20th place finish (18:25) gave five varsity runners medals and racked up the points for Custer.
Annie Antonio finished just behind Hollick in 21st place with a time of 18:31. Tayler Carlson was close behind in 24th place with a time of 18:44.
Running in their first varsity race of the season, Ashlee Eggers (19:40) and Hannah Pinkerton (22:13) finished in 48th and 60th place, respectively.
“The girls were a strong group, which should continue to help them develop into a very competitive team,” Karim said.
On Saturday, the cross country team traveled to Huron, where both teams learned valuable experience.
“This meet is a nice opportunity for our kids to race on the course that hosts state two out of every three years, as well as race some kids from the rest of the state,” Karim said. “Our runners performed well against mainly larger school competition. Hopefully that translates to confidence as we finish out the season.”
The younger girls team learned not only experience, but gained some well-deserved confidence as they placed fifth as a team against all “AA” schools.
“They competed on last year’s meet course against competition that we have not yet faced this year,” Karim said.
Glazier paced the team with her 10th place finish, running a personal best time of 15:32. Hitshew also earned a medal with her 19th place finish at a time of 16:03. Kelley was six seconds behind Hitshew, earning 21st place, and Thomsen finished strong in 26th place with a time of 16:23.
Because it was an “AA” meet, five runners were counted in the scoring. Emmalee Hollick came through with a personal record time of 17:24, earning 47th place. Tayler Carlson was not far behind in 49th place, also running a personal record time of 17:29. Annie Antonio was the final varsity competitor, finishing 56th in 17:48.
“If these girls keep working and improving, they will surprise some teams by the state meet,” Karim said.
The boys team lacked the numbers to score as a team with Brennan Witt taking his ACT test and Parsons remaining behind to play football. Even with the lack of team scorers, the boys had an impressive showing.
Burns, who ran with the front-runners, placed fourth with another personal record time of 16:19, a mere three seconds behind rival Caleb Diggs from Douglas.
“He gets closer to his competition with each race,” Karim said.
Patrick Witt raced to a personal record time of 17:51, earning him 23rd place. Herman ran a solid race, finishing in 28th in 18:06 while Dvorak finished 42nd with a time of 18:33, almost a minute faster than he ran in Custer.
“This week, we will face our toughest competition of the season in Rapid City, where state will be held this year,” Karim said. “It looks to be a big meet and we look forward to the opportunity to get on that course.”
Custer will compete in the Rapid City Invitational on Friday, Sept. 27, at 3 p.m. They will also compete in the Sturgis Invitational on Thursday, Oct. 3., at 1 p.m.
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