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Scotties compete at multi-division Rapid City Invitational meet

The Rapid City Invitational cross country meet was AA, A and B division, with teams from South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado. It was held Friday, September 23, on the Elks Golf Course and had a total count of runners that exceeded 870.

For the Philip Scotties this was the second race in the last 54 hours. Combined with temperatures over 90 degrees and more quality competition than they will face at any other race this season, they had to dig deep to find what it takes to remain competitive.

Junior Holly Iwan was one of over 130 starters in the girls' varsity race. She set up early with a mini-pack of 30-plus breakaway runners. The heat took its toll, with several dropping out of the lead group or out of the race entirely. Iwan pushed on to finish with a competitive time of 17:11 for 37th place. She was the second B division girl to cross the finish line.

Senior William Coyle joined nearly 110 boys at the start line. Though still sore from his conference win on Wednesday, he ran strong. He was the first B division boy to cross the finish line, placing 53rd overall and improving his course best with a time of 18:26.

Sophomore Allison Pekron was one of 73 junior varsity girls that day. She ran well, holding great form throughout. Pekron place 58th with a time of 22:15 over this 4,000 meter course.

With 138 boys toeing the junior varsity line, Marcus and Blake Martinez set their sights on the lead group. Never more than a few seconds apart, B. Martinez put an even 100 runners behind him, while M. Martinez finished just 10 spots back for 48th place. Both young men improved their personal course bests. M. Martinez cut 18 seconds off with 21:03 and B. Martinez 1:09 with 20:39.

Race five started at 5:00 p.m. Seventh grader Peyton Kuchenbecker and eighth graders Tyshia Ferguson and Ellie Coyle stepped up with 189 girls to compete for just 15 place medals. Coyle led the Scotties through the sorting out process, with Kuchenbecker running well in the upper half. An ever improving Ferguson got off to a great start running with the main group.

An inspired Coyle finished this 3,000 meter race as Philip's only award winner of the day, earning the 14th place medal and clocking 13:30. Kuchenbecker, with an extraordinary finishing kick, stopped the clock at 17:02. Ferguson, with a strong finish as well, ended her race at 20:39.

Race six was the junior high boys. Garrett Snook, Keegan Burnett and Damian Bartels lined up as part of the largest - in terms of numbers - race of the day, with 214 runners. The runners lined up seven or eight deep, so this race start might have looked like some of the larger marathons.

With so many feet thundering across the course, it was hard to keep track of the runners. But, when this race crossed the final bridge, the kids could see the finish banner, causing unbelievable sprints for the finish line. Each of our young men were able to overtake one or more runners in this dash. Snook led the junior high Scotties across at 14:05, Burnett just one second back and Bartels with 14:41, placing 87th, 88th and 117th. Don't let 20 seconds get between you and your buddies; 20 people might slip in there.

This has been the toughest week of training and racing the Scotties have had to date. We need to get completely healthy once again as we prepare for the year-end championship in October. The Scotties competed at Lead, Tuesday, September 27, and will compete at Highmore, Saturday, October 1.