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Cross Country boys take first at Winner

by Coach Ralph Kroetch

The Philip Scotties began their 2008 cross country season on the Winner course. The low 70s temperatures and 15 mph breeze conditions were excellent for the Scotties' first test. The team members had put in 2,200-plus combined training miles through the summer and pre-competition.

Eighth grader Holly Iwan, who came in third last year, and seventh grader Allison Pekron ran in the girls' junior varsity race. It began with Lyman's Payton Tereau and Philip's H. Iwan leading the pack, with A. Pekron in mid-pack. H. Iwan and Chamberlain's Maci Burke broke away to overtake the Lyman runner. The two-mile mark found H. Iwan in second. Approaching a long hill, H. Iwan pushed alongside and, with less than 400 meters remaining, took the lead. She held on for the win with a time of 17:09, cutting 1:35 off her 2007 Winner time. A. Pekron raced well, earning 17th place, a time of 24:28 and her first cross country medal.

In the boys' junior varsity, freshman Kelvin Ferguson started in second place, leading the main pack, followed closely by freshman Marcus Martinez and eighth grader Tyler Dekker. By mid-race, Ferguson had passed the leader and would lead much of the race. Martinez and Dekker stayed well inside the top ten. In the final turn, Ferguson fought but lost a grueling battle with Winner's Skyler Kail. Ferguson finished in second place with a time of 16:23, taking 1:10 off his 2007 Winner time. Martinez took fourth place in 17:16 and Dekker earned sixth in a time of 17:29, reducing his 2007 time by 2:55.

The girls' varsity race had junior Emily Schofield and sophomore Jennifer Stangle looking to see how their summer and pre-meet running would pay off. They began well inside the lead pack, in a race of 24 runners. As the group began to string out, Schofield found herself in a race-long battle with Lower Brule's Kasandra Estes with Schofield overtaking on most of the uphills and Estes coming back on the downs. Schofield took the 12th place medal in a time of 19:45, reducing her 2007 Winner time by 22 seconds. Stangle ran well, finishing in 21st place in a time of 24:11.

The boys' varsity race was the best they have had in nearly a decade. Senior Anthony Iwan, sophomore Zane Pekron, sophomore Kyle Iwan and freshman William Coyle brought home the Winner Invitational Boys' Championship plaque. The race started with Z. Pekron leading the field, however Winner's Donavan Brotherofall began an explosive challenge. With coaching encouragement, Z. Pekron let him go and settled on leading the rest of the pack. The Iwans were well toward the front and newcomer Coyle stayed in the top 10 as the runners began to string out. Z. Pekron was challenged by his own teammates and by Chamberlain's David Kenburger, but held on to take second place in 18:45. A. Iwan withstood challenges to finish in fourth place in a time of 18:53, bettering his course best by 2:32. K. Iwan battled to hold on to ninth place in a time of 19:08. Coyle finished well in his first race, earning 10th place in a time of 19:24. When Coyle asked, "What does it mean when your legs just burn?" his teammates smiled and knew what tomorrow will bring for Coyle.

The varsity boys were presented the first place plaque and their individual medals during a brief ceremony.