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Cross country at Hot Springs Sept. 28

First, third and fourth positions during the day ... Though Philip is classified as a “B” division school, the Scotties held their own in an “A” division cross country meet. Tristen Rush took first and Blake Martinez took eighth in the boys’ 5,000 meter JV course. Allison Pekron took fourth in the girls’ 4,000 meter JV run. Holly Iwan finished third in the girls’ 5,000 meter race. Zane Pekron took 17th, William Coyle earned 18th, and Kelvin Ferguson finished 44th in the 5,000 meter varsity run.

The feather ruffling of a bus ride shared by the Philip Scotties and Wall Eagles to travel to the Hot Spring's golf course turned out to be not only athletically productive for both teams, but strengthened personal relationships inside these rivaling teams.

The hills on the course make the Philip course, which is considered to have too much hill running, for many, to be, well, a baby. There was never relief as this course is all on the side of a small mountain. The only small, fairly flat spot was the start-finish line. This, combined with 90 degree heat and an altitude not often experienced by us flatlanders, made place finishing, or just finishing as each race had many drop-outs, the only measure of today's success.

The boys varsity raced first on this two-loop course. Senior Zane Pekron and juniors William Coyle and Kelvin Ferguson were among the nearly 50 contestants. Pekron again led out in the top 15 between Lead/Deadwood's Brant Blaha and Newcastle, Wyo's., Brody Benson. Coyle, about one mile in, stated that he felt sick from the heat as he ran five places behind his teammate, Pekron. Ferguson, splitting Wall's Kale Lytle and Nathan Patterson, completed this hard-working team.

Pekron trailed Custer's Isral Parsons across the 5,000 meter finish line in 17th place in a time of 20:51. Coyle, just four seconds behind his teammate, claimed the 18th position at 20:55. Ferguson shared the same finish time as Wall's Kaden Eisenbraun at 26:07 to place 44th. This was an "A" division race requiring four entries to constitute a team.

Sophomore Holly Iwan was Philip's only varsity girl and the only "B" school runner on the 4,000 meter start line. Iwan set out early to disprove the myth that she does not hold up well in the heat. She began her race running in the top five. She pushed on, staying in the lead group and taking a brief stab at the lead with a half mile remaining. Iwan finished in third place with Custer's Karley Konkol and Hill City's Leah Deering ahead and Red Cloud's Myraim Rama behind her. Iwan's time was 21:00.

Ninth grader Allison Pekron was one of just four "B" division entries in the junior varsity girls' 4,000 meter race. Though running well, she found the physicalness of the race her biggest challenge, as she was compelled to use her asthma inhaler during a race for the first time this year. She raced through to place fourth overall and second among "B" division girls in one of her best efforts to date. Her time was 27:26, a full nine minutes in front of the 15th place girl.

The boys' junior varsity ran simultaneously with the girls'. Eighth graders Tristen Rush and Blake Martinez ran for the Scotties. Both appeared confident as they started out in the lead pack. Rush ran to the to the lead early, but at the halfway point on this 5,000 meter course was pushed back to sixth position. Martinez began his race just four spots behind his teammate using the teammate visual to keep the strong pace needed to be a part of this tightly formed lead group.

As the race went up and around a tree and the pack became a long sparse line, Rush made a move to put himself back into third place just in front of Newcastle's lead runner. Martinez moved ahead of the Pine Ridge lead runner and into 10th place. Through the last series of hills, both Scotties continued to move up, with Rush taking the lead and outpacing Hot Spring's Gab Davilla by just four seconds to clock 21:55 and making him a champion for the second time in his rookie year. Martinez , just three seconds in front of Newcastle's Rhyse Rhoades, claimed the eighth place award in 23:59. Philip had the only two "B" division runners in this field of 27 finishers.