Philip runners challenge Highmore course

by Coach Ralph Kroetch

The Philip Scotties cross country team could have picked no better day than Saturday, October 3, to challenge many of East River's best runners.

With a light mist, cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40s, many Scotties would again set personal coarse best times, while seeing just how they stack up against an extremely fast field, including the reigning boys' and girls' "B" division state champions.

In the girls' 4,000 meter varsity race, Holly Iwan lead her team out, testing her strength as this season nears its close. Iwan opened her race running well into the lead group and pushed as high as third place in mid-race, behind reigning state champion Mindy Craft and Kadoka's Tia Carlson. Philip's Kaeley Fenhaus began her race near mid-pack, using Wall's lead runner to set her pace. Philip's Allison Pekron keyed off of her teammate, Fenhaus. Jennifer Stangle, in the early stages of the race, paced a Miller runner. The finish of this race was deja vu of Iwan's 2008 course race. She once again was in a final sprint with Kadoka's Shaley Herber and Redfield-Doland's Cooper Bebo. Iwan's sprint this time took fourth place in a time of 16:01, an improvement of two spots. Fenhaus earned 31st place in a time of 19:00. Pekron finished her first varsity run on this course in 19:51 for 36th place. Stangle finished in 40th in a time of 22:50. The girls' team accumulated 50 points to earn sixth place.

The boys' race began extremely fast, with the state "B" champion Mith Kraft leading the field. Philip's William Coyle, in the lead group and seventh place, set the pace for the Scotties. Teammate Zane Pekron got boxed in on the course's first tight corner, settled in at 17th to start. Tyler Dekker began his race in 25th, while Kelvin Ferguson began in 41st. Coyle finished shoulder-to-shoulder with Wall's Collin Huether, earning 10th place in a time of 17:55, an improvement of 57 seconds over his 2008 course time. Pekron overtook two Miller runners to claim the 15th and final medal. His time was 18:39, an improvement of nine seconds. Dekker finished in a sprint with a Wakpala runner to earn 25th place in a time of 19:49, an improvement of 1:24. Ferguson placed 40th in a time of 23:33. The boys' team placed fourth in this field of nine teams, just behind Miller.

The Scotties raced in Cheyenne-Eagle Butte on Tuesday, October 6. Their next race will be the Philip meet at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 10. Next will be regionals in Philip at 12:00 noon. The state cross country meet will be in Rapid City on Saturday, October 24.