Six Bulldogs to run at State
The Sundance cross country team took one more step toward wrapping up a successful season at the 2A East-Powder River Conference Championship Meet last Saturday. Held in the shadow of the Big Horns in Dayton, excitement was high as performance in this race meant much to its participants.
For Sundance’s junior high runners, this was the last meet of the year, the climax of months of intense training. For the high school athletes, the opportunity to be on the state team was on the line. The meet, hosted by Tongue River high school, consisted of two junior high and two high school races.
The junior high girls’ race was the first on the docket. To date, Sundance never had junior high runners, but this year a group of strong 6th grade ladies stepped up to the challenge.
In the 3000-meter race, Rylie Marchant and Brit Wheeler took 5th and 6th places overall with times of 13:43 and 13:46. Riley Banker made the top ten in 10th place in 14:47, with Willow Lindholm not far behind in 17:18.
Not only did this young team represent Sundance in a JH girls meet for the first time ever, their team score won them the conference champion title, tying points with Tongue River, but edging them out time-wise (by combining total team race times), beating their team by just 33 seconds.
The junior high boys lined up next. Sundance 6th grader Deklan Gill took 3rd place overall with a time of 11:52, with 8th grader Seth Kammerer on his heels, taking 4th place in 11:56.
Zach Duvall and Nate Schommer rounded out the team with their best times ever of 14:23 and 15:15 respectively. These boys’ combined places earned them conference runner up to the Wright Panthers.
In the varsity girls’ division, sophomore and team captain Tori Wheeler represented Sundance by her lonesome, taking third place with a personal best time breaking 21 minutes at 20:57. This time would have earned Wheeler a bronze at state last year, so she is situated and preparing to “go for the gold” at state this Saturday.
The high school boys were up next. Sundance runners Isaiah Kammerer and Hunter Skeens handily took first and second places, each running the best times of their lives, finishing the 5000-meter race in the seventeens: Kammerer at 17:21 and Skeens just breaking the 18-minute mark, coming in at 17:59.
If that number doesn’t mean much to you, Kammerer ran three five-minute 35-second miles. Skeens’ per-mile pace was 5:47.
Sophomore Titus Schelling took the 11th place slot in 19:10. Freshman JV runner Colton Tipton finished in a varsity-qualifying time of 20:05, securing his spot on varsity and the state team. Junior Brody Skeens wasn’t far behind in 20:17.
Freshman Owen Haiar earned his fastest time in 21:40, while freshman Josh Pridgeon and junior Klel Johnson finished the season with personal bests of 22:16 and 23:35. The four fastest boys’ places combined earned SHS a team score of 26, one point behind Big Horn’s championship score of 25.
Given this strong showing by Sundance’s runners, the state team consists of Tori Wheeler in the girls division and, for the boys, Isaiah Kammerer, Hunter Skeens, Titus Schelling, Colton Tipton and Brody Skeens. The team is fine-tuning their training this week, preparing physically and mentally for this Saturday’s meet.
A community send-off is scheduled at noon on Friday, so if you see them coming through town, feel free to come out and show your support as these young athletes represent our community at the state level.
For those interested in attending the state championship, it will take place on Saturday morning at the VA in Sheridan. Admission for the public is $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for students. The times are as follows: 3A Boys- 10:30 a.m., 2A Boys- 11 a.m., 4A Boys- 11:30 a.m., 3A Girls- 12 p.m., 2A Girls- 12:30 p.m., 4A Girls- 1:15 p.m.
Submitted by Mason Neiman