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Philip's cross country runs Chamberlain

Tyshia Ferguson

The Philip Scotties cross country team made the two-hour trip to Chamberlain for the first time in over five years Thursday, September 16.

This is a very well attended, predominantly "A" division race. The weather conditions could not have been better, with temps in the mid 70s, a light southerly breeze and sunny skies. The competition proved not only talented, but with over 200 runners the talent ran deep in each of the four races. Earning a prominent position proved difficult for all involved.

Freshman Allison Pekron and seventh grader Tyshia Ferguson ran the girls' junior varsity race. Pekron started her race in a strong lead group of 20 runners. Ferguson, in her first-ever 4,000 meter race, chose a more conservative approach, using a Highmore/Harrold runner as her pace-setter while she adjusted to the new race length. Pekron, using a strong running form, put herself in a position to "out-kick" Chamberlain's Alyna Steckelberg to earn the 15th and final place medal, clocking 20:42. Ferguson ran well the entire race, out-pacing Marty's Rose Drapeau for the 32nd position in a time of 20:28 - a great learning experience for our seventh grader.

Eighth graders Blake Martinez and Tristen Rush toed the line with 55 other junior varsity boys with each giving their best to date performance. Both young men chose a comfortable, and for their experience, a level, smart race start, trailing the lead pack. Little more than a half mile into this race many of the runners who started in the lead pack began to wilt while Martinez and Rush began to improve their pace allowing both young men to move up through the now long, slim column of runners as they crossed a tree-covered creek and out of sight. Rush continually pushed his way up and went on to earn fifth place today and on a predominantly flat course stopped the clock at 15:38. Martinez made up a lot of ground on McLauglin's Jeremiah McCauley in the closing half mile to place 16th with a time of 17:08 on this 4,000 meter course.

Sophomore Holly Iwan was Philip's lone varsity girl. She gave easily her best performance of the season. Iwan chose to start with an early breakaway group of South Dakota's finest from the "A" and "B" divisions. She ran strong throughout, finishing in a group of runners whose names you will hear at this year's state meet; "A" Lottie Grimshaw - Todd County, "B" Tia Carlson - Kadoka, "A" Maci Burke - Chamberlain, "B" Mindy Kraft - Wessington Springs, "A" Ashley Iron Moccasin and De Beautiful Bald Eagle - Cheyenne-Eagle Butte.

Iwan and Whitney Kuyper, Stickney, tied for seventh place, both with a time of 16:39.00 over this 4,000 meter course.

The boys' 5,000 meter varsity race started 62 runners, with junior William Coyle and senior Zane Pekron representing Philip, in what was for both their best efforts to date. Both started this race toward the front of the main pack, settling in around the 20th position. After one loop of the two-loop course, Pekron ran 14th with Coyle at 16th. With a half mile remaining, the field of runners went out of sight with Pekron and Coyle holding those positions. When they came back into view, they were side by side in 12th and 13th place. Pekron crossed the finish line in 17:42.02 for 10th place, while Coyle's 17:42.08 earned him 12th place in their most exciting race of the year.

Every Scottie represented their school with great pride today.

The Scotties raced Wednesday, September 22, on the Wall Golf Course for the Great Plains Conference Championships.

Their next race will start at 10:00 a.m. at Kadoka, Saturday, September 25. The one after that will begin at 3:00 p.m. in Lead Tuesday, September 28.