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Six Philip Scottie runners heading to State Cross Country Meet in Huron

Philip’s team at Region 5B ... Back row, from left: Kelvin Ferguson, Zane Pekron, William Coyle, Blake Martinez, Tristen Rush and student manager Ben Stangle. Front: coach Ralph Kroetch, Allison Pekron, Holly Iwan and Tyshia Ferguson.

The 2010 Scottie cross country team of eight runners, five boys and three girls, is the smallest in the past decade, but they are a true team. One for all and all for one. No where was this more evident than the 2010 Region 5B Championship held at the Philip Golf Course Wednesday, October 13. As six of eight will move on to the state championships at the Broadland Golf course in Huron October 23.

Temperatures in the low 60s, clear sunny skies, a light breeze and a viewer-friendly course helped make the boys' varsity race one of the most exciting and competitive region races in the state. The Scotties plan today was to work together, start smart and the finish would take care of itself. The final advice given by the coach was, "Beat the runners you are supposed to beat, don't wreck your race trying to stay with someone you are sure will finish well ahead of you."

Lemmons' Brant Haase and Wall's Collin Huether broke away from the field early with the Scotties settling in at the front of the main pack of 33 runners. Senior Zane Pekron set the early pace for his team with junior William Coyle on his shoulder. Eighth grader Tristen Rush trailed this duo by three places in 10th position. Eighth grader Blake Martinez started his race in 30th with one runner separating him from teammate junior Kelvin Ferguson.

Coyle, running as high as third at times, led the Scotties through much of this race. Rush, using his senior teammate Pekron to pace early, did push past his mentor at the two mile mark, inspiring both to a better finish. Martinez had moved up as high as 22nd place with Ferguson moving up the pack with his teammate.

Final kicks found Bison's Nathan Burkhalter separating fourth place Coyle from sixth place Pekron. Dupree's Tracey Slides Off had slipped between Pekron and eighth place Rush, giving the Scotties a team count of 16 as they put three runners in the top eight. Martinez finished just one second ahead of Rapid City Christian's Josh Stromman for 22nd place. Ferguson out-ran Takini's' John Thin Elk for 30th place.

Coyle's time of 18:12 was his best regional time and course best by 42 seconds, giving him his best region finish to date and his third consecutive state qualification. Pekron, earning his fifth straight trip to the state meet, placed sixth in 18:32 cutting another four seconds from his course best. Rush, a first year runner, pulled in just six seconds back in eighth place in 18:15, cutting 19 seconds from his only previous course time and earning his first trip to the state meet. Martinez's time of 20:41 improved on his only other Philip varsity run by eight seconds. Ferguson's 22:52 gave him his best 5,000 meter time of the 2010 season by 14 seconds.

This gave the Scottie boys their best region finish in well over a decade. Lemmon's coach said, "You guys (Scotties) will be right in the thick of it at a wide open boys' state meet."

The top three full teams and top 20 individuals move on to state. Team points: Lemmon - 14, Philip - 16, Wall - 19, Dupree - 44, Faith - 48, White River - 57.

Philip's girls put together a team of three varsity runners for the second time this year. Sophomore Holly Iwan went into today's meet saying she was just going to run her pace and not let others mess with that. She and Kadoka's Tia Carlson exchanged the early lead with eventual race winner Lemmon's Haley Froelick over-taking both by the midway point. Iwan later said, "When Lemmon went by me, I just said that I was staying with my pace and let her go. She's an animal."

A much-improved Allison Pekron put a painful swollen toe out of her mind, starting her race in mid-pack and, for the first time ever, ahead of Kadoka's Alexandra Smiley. Seventh grader Tyshia Ferguson, in her second ever varsity race, worked hard to help her team while gaining valuable racing experience.

An ever-improving Iwan once again cut the finish time between herself and Kadoka rival Carlson from the 65 seconds it had been two weeks ago at the conference meet to 30 seconds, giving Iwan her best ever region placing of third with a new course best of 15:21. This is Iwan's fourth consecutive state qualification.

To say that this girls' region has improved might be an understatement. Pekron ran 19:15, an improvement on her 2009 region time by 1:07, giving her 26th place, while her 2009 20:22 earned her 25th place in 2009. Never the less, she set her new course best.

Ferguson finished her race in a long sprint to overtake Takini's Maria Stewart for 31st place in a time of 22:00. This was a monster improvement over Ferguson's only other 4,000 meter time of 27:11 at the conference meet. The girls did just what was asked of them, running smart and surprising many to place fifth as a team.

Team standings: Kadoka - 17 points. Lemmon - 18, Faith - 25, McIntosh -35, Philip - 53, White River - 58, Rapid City Christian - 63.

The day was capped with a 1,200 meter youth run for grades six and under. Thirty youth toed the start line in what was for many their first experience at distance running. Cooper West led the young Scotties across the finish in 5:33. Corbin Kramer followed at 6:42. Ashley Williams was Philip's first girl with a time of 6:52. Josie Rush, just one second behind, clocked 6:53. Coy Kramer finished in 7:03, with Grace Pekron clocking 7:07. Jasmine Fersuson had a time of 7:11

The Scottie state qualifiers will leave Friday for the state meet to compete Saturday, October 24 at 12:00 MT.