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Every runner counts; Philip wins Region 5B cross country, sending 10 to state

In baseball you call it a clutch play, in basketball a buzzer beater, in football a winning drive. In any sport it takes a winning effort by every member of a team to win championships. Nowhere is that more evident than the Philip Scotties' cross country team.

All these boys have done in the last four weeks is win. Week six of the 2011 season brought a one-point win over Wall for the Western Great Plains Conference title. Week seven a team title at the Highmore Invite where the top four teams were separated by only four points. Week eight as the Scotties won the Philip Invite in a tie broken by the team pusher. And, week nine brought the only regional title in Philip High School boys' team history, again with a tie-breaking pusher.

Every member of this team, it seems, understands and lives their role on this team to the utmost degree. Senior William Coyle, who has lead the Scotties through every race this year, again did what he does, lead the Scotties with a third place finish, clocking 18:39.

Freshman Tristen Rush had a tough time landing the two spot on this team, but solidified that spot again in this region meet, clocking 19:32 for 10th place. Freshman Blake Martinez again filled the the three spot for the Scotties, clocking 19:59 for 13th place. Freshman Nelson Holman took the fourth position as pusher, clocking 20:14. With the day's mantra of "every runner counts," senior Marcus Martinez stacked one more valuable point on Dupree's DeeHawk Moran, putting the exclamation point on Philip's victory.

None of this guarantees a victory as the Scotties enter the state championships October 22 in Sioux Falls, however I wouldn't count them out.

Team results: Philip - 19 points, Dupree - 19, Wall - 21, Faith - 36, White River - 48, Rapid City Christian - 48.

The girls' varsity set out with equally lofty goals, as they entered a full team of five in the regional meet for the first time in over six years. What the girls lacked in experience this year - three of the five girls are rookies to this sport - they more than made up for with enthusiasm.

The girls were only able to put together a full team three times this year, resulting in team runner-up at the WGP Conference, a third in the Philip Invite and, for the first time since 2004, earn a team birth at this year's state meet with a third place team finish at our 2011 regional championships.

Junior Holly Iwan filled her roll as team leader through all the meets, less one where her protege, eighth grader Ellie Coyle, stepped up in the team's time of need at the Philip Invite. Iwan lead the Scotties again this day, clocking 16:01 to place fifth. Rookie Coyle followed her mentor across the finish line in sixth place, clocking 16:25. Rookie senior Kianna Knutson has held the third spot down for the Scotties all year; this day she stopped the clock at 17:42, placing 19th. Rookie seventh grader Peyton Kuchenbecker filled the pusher roll, placing 22nd with a time of 18:19. Sophomore Allison Pekron capped this team performance as she ran 20:07, placing 29th overall.

Team standings: Kadoka Area - 10 points, Lemmon - 20, Philip - 25, Rapid City Christian - 32, White River - 61, Faith - 61.

Entering their final junior varsity race of the year, Tyshia Ferguson, Kelvin Ferguson, Garrett Snook, Keegan Burnett and Damian Bartels gave their all. T. Ferguson placed fourth among the girls with a 4,000 meter time of 24:15. The boys' team placed second, just three points in back of White River's nine points and 18 points in front of Faith. Snook lead his team again, placing second to White River's Kalup Provancial. Snook's time was 16:35. Just one runner separated Burnett from his teammate, placing fourth with a time of 17:05. K. Ferguson, our third runner, placed seventh with his time of 17:39. Bartels, this day's team pusher, placed 10th with 18:07 as his time.

There young people have worked very hard this year with many looking to fill vacated varsity spots in 2012.

The day ended with the youth run. Many of these youngsters have been training two days per week as they prepare to fill future Scotties rosters. Josie Rush lead the young Scotties with a time of 6:56. Ethan Burnett, our first boy, ran 7:02. Ethan Ferguson followed at 7:05, Jasmin Ferguson clocked 7:10, Jaida Haynes, in her first ever race, clocked 7:14, and Grace Pekron just two seconds back at 7:16.

The varsity Scotties will travel to Sioux Falls, Friday, October 21, for course practice for the State B Cross Country Meet. On Saturday, races start at 1:00 p.m. with the girls' B division. The boys' B division race will start at 2:00 p.m. CT.