Philip Scotties compete well at state cross country - Holly Iwan medals at 20th place

State cross country medalist ... Philip Scottie Holly Iwan earned the girls’ 20th place medal at the state cross country competition in Huron on Saturday, October 20, 2007. Iwan, only a seventh grader, is the third Philip girl to have ever placed at state cross country. She is pictured receiving her medal.

by Coach Ralph Kroetch

Temperatures in the mid-60s, a light breeze and sunny skies made for excellent spectator conditions at the State Cross Country Meet in Huron on Saturday, October 20th.

Previous heavy rains gave the runners the extra little challenge that over 100 competitors alone could not provide. Several runners were seen slipping or falling and each race presented a newly trampled course for the next.

In the girls' "B" division, Region 5B proved to be the powerhouse that the regional times suggested it might be, with seven of the top 20 state medalists from 5B.

Philip's Holly Iwan was one of only two seventh graders to earn one of those medals. Iwan began her race sprinting through the mud, pushing her way toward the front of this field of 116. Mid-race found her in 16th position. She had to physically fight for that position as she prepared to cross a walking bridge at the same time as another runner. Iwan said, "I just swung my arms wide and sprinted past her."

Toward the race's end, Iwan was running in a group of six and sprinted toward the electronically monitored finish line. (Each runner wear's a computer chip on their shoes.) Iwan's finish time of 17:11.6 matched exactly Faulkton's Kalli Hossie. Hossie was given 19th position and Iwan given 20th. Iwan is the third female cross country Philip High School athlete to earn a top 20 state meet medal and the second to earn this on a 4,000 meter course. Previous Philip medalists were junior Lisa Rush on a "B" division 3,000 meter course and two-time medalist Keri Hansen during her eighth and ninth grades on the "A" division 4,000 meter course. This makes 12-year-old Iwan the youngest Philip girl to earn this honor. Great race and great year Holly!

Next came the "A" girls race, followed by the boy's "B" division race.

For the third year in a row, Philip boys competed as a team, and earned their best team finish, placing 15th in the state.

Junior Anthony Iwan lead the Scotties early on, with freshmen Zane Pekron and Kyle Iwan close behind. All were running mid-pack in this field of 112 of South Dakota's best.

Near two and a half, Pekron moved up to lead Philip's evenly-matched team and pushed himself into a group of five runners. He touched the finish pad just four-tenths of a second behind Freeman Academy's Jon Graber and eight-tenths of a second ahead of Gayville/Volin's Tyler Kasuskey. Pekron cut two full minutes off of his 2006 state meet time to clock a 19:21.06 and earn 58th position.

A. Iwan also competed within a group of five runners. He and Selby Area's Chris Schanzenbach touched the finish pad at 19:30.5, with A. Iwan being given the 65th position and Selby given 66th.

K. Iwan finished just four seconds back, outrunning Great Plains Lutheran's Zak Fick for 69th position and clocking 19:34.3.

This group of young men bettered their 2006 team time by 1:48 and three team spots. Great year gentlemen! Looking back, this year is one to make Scottie fans proud and, look forward, have great anticipation.