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Academics highlight Philip cross country awards

Thursday, October 27, the Scotties cross country team gathered to honor their own. Each team member cast a vote for teammates who best met the criteria of five awards, as well as recognized the 2011 team and each of four senior's career achievements.

The girls' rookie of the year award went to Ellie Coyle. For the boys, Nelson Holman and Keegan Burnett tied for this award.

The award for most improved can be from the beginning of this year to the end, and can be from last year to this year. For the girls - Coyle, and for the boys - a tie between Blake Martinez and Damian Bartels.

The will to win award goes to the athlete who displays the winning attitude every day at practices and races. For the girls - Coyle, for the boys - Bartels.

The athlete of the year award goes to the member who is the most athletic at practices and races. For the girls - Holly Iwan, and for the boys - William Coyle.

The Scottie Award goes to the members who best represent Philip High School at all times. For the girls - Kianna Knutson, and for the boys - Kelvin Ferguson.

Senior student Knutson, in her first year as a member of cross country, ran over 180 miles. She was part of the Western Great Plains Conference runner-up team. She qualified for state by placing 19th in region and 102nd at state.

Senior Marcus Martinez, a three-year member of cross country, has run over 500 miles. He was part of the Scottie team that won the WGP Conference meet, the Region 5B championship, and the sixth place team at state. He qualified for state by finishing 17th at region and 70th at state.

Senior student W. Coyle, as a four-year member of the Scotties' cross country team, has run over 1,500 miles. He and his teammates were the 2010 and 2011 WGP Conference champions. They were the region runner-up team in 2010, and the region champions in 2011. He was part of the third place team at the 2010 state meet and the sixth place team at the 2011 state meet. Coyle has earned three state medals - 19th place in 2009, 13th place in 2010 and ninth place in 2011 - to make him the most decorated male Scottie at state.

Senior student Ferguson, as a four-year cross country member, as run well over 2,300 miles. He was a state qualifier in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He was part of the WGP Conference championship teams in 2010 and in 2011. He was part of the state 2010 third-place team.

We will lose 14 years experience through graduation this year. That leadership will be greatly missed.

This year saw the first ever region championships for the Scotties boys. Their state 2011 sixth place team ranks them as the third highest Scotties boys' team of all time. The girls' ninth place state team finish is now the highest team finish in PHS school history. Both statistics were taken from the South Dakota Boy's and South Dakota Girls' Cross Country State Meet Memories, a South Dakota High School Activities Association document compiled by George Kiner, Volga.

The highlights of the awards evening were the final two awards. Both the boys' and girls' teams earned SDHSAA team academic awards. To achieve this, a team must have a combined grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The boys' GPA was 3.196 and the girls' was 3.677.

Congratulations Scotties on a great 2011.