Three state C.C. medals, PHS record

Ninth in State “B” ... Philip’s Holly Iwan finished the 2009 season with a state cross country medal and a race time of 16:39. The meet was run at the Elks Golf Course in Rapid City on Saturday, October 24.

by Ralph Kroetch

The 34th annual Girls and 64th annual Boys State Cross Country Meet was held at the Elks Golf Course, Rapid City, on Saturday October 24. Qualifying to run at state were 355 girls and 357 boys.

Medals were presented to the first 25 individual places in each class and to the top four teams in each class. All boy's classes ran 5,000 meters (3.11 miles), while all girl's classes ran 4,000 meters (2.49 miles).

This year's Scottie cross country team compiled over 3,300 miles en route to this year's state championships. This kind of year-round dedication and the near perfect racing conditions and temperatures in the low 50s, light winds and overcast skies, allowed the Scotties to set many personal, team and school best-ever performances.

Senior Emily Schofield and freshman Holly Iwan represented the Philip Scotties in the girls' "B" division race. They lined up with Harding County's Baily Buttes in box #22 of 30 starting boxes, as 110 girls prepared at the starting line. Schofield, in her second state meet, finished in 75th place in a time of 19:04. This was a 91 second improvement over a mid-season race on this same course. This was also a 32 second improvement on the state race, last year run on a Huron course.

Iwan, in her third state meet, placed ninth for the second straight year, and earned her third state medal. Her time of 16:39 bettered her course best by 16 seconds and her state record by 32 seconds. Her three medals makes her the winningness harrier in Philip High School history. Philip's previous girl state placers were Keri Hanson - 14th in 1985 and 10th in 1996, and Lisa Rush - 15th in 1984.

Filling the #11 start box, the four Scottie boys lined up with the other 106 South Dakota best. Sophomore William Coyle was in his second state meet, junior Zane Pekron in his fourth, sophomore Kelvin Ferguson in his second and freshman Tyler Dekker in his first. Philip earned its second straight top 10 team placing, garnering 83 team points for ninth place at state.

Coyle settled in at approximately 30th place as the race began and the runners began stringing out. A powerful last mile and a finishing kick moved Coyle up to earn the 19th place medal with a time of 18:15. This is a course improvement of 11 seconds and a meet improvement of 1:15 over last year in Huron.

Pekron, using the experience of four state meets, pushed himself to the front of the lead pack early, but not allowing himself to get caught up in the jostling and bumping that breaks a running cadence. Early into 15th place, he successfully battled with one opponent to capture his first state medal, finishing in 24th place in a time of 18:25. This is a course improvement of 20 seconds and a Huron state meet improvement of 27 seconds.

Dekker learned much about how to handle himself in a racing group of over 100. He knows what it takes to overtake determined runners at the close of a race. He placed 87th in a time of 20:47.

Ferguson gave a great effort. He closed his 2009 state meet in 103rd place in a time of 2:00.

All four boys represented Philip well. Coyle and Pekron's state medals are the first to have been earned by a male Philip High School athlete since 1998 when Jaris Kroetch placed 13th. These two, combined with Iwan's place medal, make three place medals for the Scottie cross country team for 2009, the best one-year medal count in PHS history. Brian Heltzel and Mike Sechler were placers in 1987, and Keri Hansen and Dustin Peterson in 1995.

The Scotties will miss their lone senior, Emily Schofield. The remainder of the team looks forward to next year's high school cross country season.