The Rapid City Cobblers’ annual cross country meet located at the Hart Ranch Camping Resort is always the largest race of the year for the Sundance Cross Country Team – so large, in fact, that this year it was split into two separate events. Junior high races took place on Thursday the 21st, with high schools on the 22nd.
On both days, Sundance’s runners saw the toughest competition to date, which pushed them to attain their best times of the year. Many of the runners set personal records to the tune of taking a minute or more off their previous time – a tall order at this point in the season.
The fast times experienced in Rapid provided a mid-season psychological boost, building confidence as the team looks to finish the season strong.
Of the Thursday junior high races, first up were the sixth grade girls – a race of 82 athletes. First in for Sundance was Rylie Marchant who finished the 3000-meter run in 13:44, earning her the 11th-place spot. On her heels was Brit Wheeler, finishing 12th in 13:55. Riley Banker came in next at 16:12, followed by Willow Lindholm at 18:05.
Deklan Gill was the only 6th grade boy to represent Sundance in the race boasting 113 runners. In 13th place, he finished with Sundance’s best sixth grade 3K time of 12:54.
The seventh and eighth grade boys were next. Eighth grader Seth Kammerer finished in 12:32. Not far behind was Zach Nelson at 13:12. Rounding out the race for Sundance was Zach Duvall and Nate Schommer who came in at 15:23 and seventeen flat, respectively.
The next breezy afternoon, the high school runners tried their luck on the same course: dusty and flat. Sophomore Tori Wheeler was first, representing SHS by herself in the varsity girls’ race of 143 runners. Pushing herself to the limit, Tori ran the best race of her life, finishing well under the 22-minute mark with a personal record of 21 minutes 19 seconds.
The varsity boys were up next. Isaiah Kammerer was Sundance’s first runner with his best run ever, finishing in 17:47. While earning him 31st place amid the stiff competition from area 4A schools, that time put him within eight seconds of last year’s 2A state champion.
Freshman Hunter Skeens wasn’t far behind, cutting over a minute off his previous time with another personal best of 18:32. Sophomore Titus Schelling struggled through an inflamed tendon in his calf to finish with a solid time of 20:28, while junior Brody Skeens pushed through a rough race, finishing in 21:44.
Junior varsity boys were the last race for Sundance. Freshman Joshua Pridgeon and junior Klel Johnson joined the mass of 140 area runners to finish in 24:03 and 24:14 respectively.
The SHS cross country team heads to Wright this Saturday for the Brittany Rentas Memorial race at the Hay Creek Golf Course. Encouraged by last week’s successes, the team continues to strive for excellence as they prepare to represent Sundance at the upcoming conference and state meets.
Submitted by Mason Neiman