Philip's Cross Country at Faith Invitational

Third place at Faith ... The Philip varsity cross country girls passed many opponents. Shown in front, eighth grader Holly Iwan, followed by junior Emily Schofield and sophomore Jennifer Stangle. As a team, they edged out the “A” Mclaughlin team by two points to take third place. Courtesy photo

by Coach Ralph Kroetch

Philip Scotties traveled to Faith on September 6 on one day's rest to compete against some of the best "A" and "B" division cross country teams in central South Dakota.

Age, experience and an occasional influx of new blood seem to be a winning combination for improving the Philip team, as personal bests and team standings continue to improve.

In the junior varsity girls' race, Allison Pekron, in her second race, and Alaetra Evans, the team's running manager in her first race, were both medal winners. A. Pekron picked up a shoe-thrown cactus in her leg, but did not stop to remove it. She finished in seventh place, recording a time of 17:02 on this 3,000 meter course. Evans would not be stopped, and finished in 17:08 for eighth place.

In the boys' junior varsity division, freshman Marcus Martinez and eighth grader Tyler Dekker earned their best ever finishes. Both started near the front of the pack, with Martinez pushing to capture second place in a well run 11:42. Dekker battled throughout the race with an experienced Lemon runner to earn fifth place in 12:08, an improvement of 1:07 over last year's Faith race.

The varsity girls ran a full, though minimum, team of three; junior Emily Schofield, sophomore Jennifer Stangle and eighth grader Holly Iwan. The girls edged out the "A" Mclaughlin team by two points to take the third team placing. H. Iwan started near the back of the field of 21 runners and worked her way up to earn sixth place in a time of 17:05. Schofield worked throughout the race to earn 18th place in a time of 21:18. Stangle raced hard against a Mclaughlin runner and earned 20th place in a time of 23:46.

The boys' 5,000-meter varsity race, with 13 schools represented, would prove to be the Scotties' greatest challenge of the day. With a full team of five, the boys raced well against many of South Dakota's finest. Senior Anthony Iwan, sophomores Zane Pekron and Kyle Iwan, and freshmen Kelvin Ferguson and William Coyle earned third place as a team.

At the start, Z. Pekron and A. Iwan lead their team, Z. Pekron going on to finish in 10th place in a time of 19:12. Coyle, in his second-ever race, pushed himself up in the field to challenge Z. Pekron, and earned the 11th position in a time of 19:21. K. Iwan, improving his position throughout the race, would re-set his course best by 1:19 to place 15th in a time of 19:58. A. Iwan set a personal best of 20:04, shaving off 58 seconds, to place 16th. Ferguson cut 2:35 from his course best to place 20th in a time of 21:05.

Faith's final race of the day was a youth run of around a quarter of a mile. Philip's Mark Stangle finished third and Grace Pekron finished a very happy 12th.

The Scotties' cross country team will next race at the Pierre Invitational on Thursday, September 11.