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Cross country team's first meet, at EAFB

Varsity ... Philip’s Zane Pekron, center, out-ran many of his “AA”, “A” and “B” competitors to clock a time of 20:03 and earn the 15th place medal. Teammate William Coyle earned 30th place in this 5,000 meter race with a time of 20:42. For the varsity girls, Holly Iwan earned the 32nd spot out of 68 runners.

Without a doubt the hottest day of 2010, and the Philip Scottie cross country team traveled to Ellsworth Air Force Base to compete in the Douglas High School Invitational for the first time in seven years.

The race is called the Earlybird with that nearly every team west of the Missouri River gathered to test their off-season training for the first time. With four "AA", 12 "A" and six "B" South Dakota schools, two North Dakota and one Wyoming team in attendance and a total participant count of nearly 280 strong, this might easily be the largest and most competitive meet of 2010 for Philip High School.

The first race started at 10:00 a.m. and sophomore Holly Iwan was Philip's only varsity girl. She started her usual stellar race with the lead pack. Iwan ran strong throughout the race and finished a brave run in 32nd position in a field of 68 runners.

Race two began with senior Zane Pekron and junior William Coyle starting in this field of 69 varsity runners. The race started with a long uphill pull and every entrant got to take a look at the back of William Coyle's jersey as he crossed the top of the hill. Pekron chose to start his race in the middle of the front group somewhere in the top 20. As the heat, terrain and surprizingly fast pace strung out the 69 competitors over the 5,000 meter course, Pekron's 300-plus mile summer training began to show through. He was able to stay in touch with the lead group and end his race out-running Red Cloud and Douglas runners to capture the 15th and final place medal, stopping his clock at 20:03. Coyle trailed his teammate by just 39 seconds, battling Spearfish and Sturgis runners for 30th place with a time of 20:42.

Race three began at 11:00 a.m. and third-year cross country participant Allison Pekron, along with Philip's rookie seventh grader Tyshia Ferguson, toed the junior varsity line to brave the heat along with 57 other runners. Pekron's strong summer of running helped her to end her race outrunning Rapid Central and Pine Ridge runners for 27th place and a time of 16:20. Ferguson placed well in her first 3,000 meter race, stopping the clock at 20:40 to place 49th.

The final race of the day began at 11:30 with the heat nearing the 100 degree mark. Junior Kelvin Ferguson and eighth graders Blake Martinez and Tristen Rush stepped up to test their mettle. All three began this junior varsity race near the middle of this field of 79 runners. Cross country rules allow for water distribution and these young men, like their previous teammates, took full advantage by drinking and dousing throughout the race. The heat still took it's toll on all of the competitors.

Rush, in his first ever cross country race, was able to pull away from a pair of runners, one from Rapid City Stevens and the other from Belle Fourche, to earn the 10th place award, clocking 16:53. Martinez outran a strong Pine Ridge runner for 43rd place to clock 20:03 in his first race of the season. Ferguson ended his race battling runners from Hulette, Wyo., and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte to clock 20:34 on this 4,000 meter course and earn 50th place.

No team scores were kept, though each of these athletes represented Philip well in a race that showcased the best cross country competition in western South Dakota.

The Scotties will race Friday, September 3, starting at 2:00 p.m. at the Faith Cross Country Invitational.