In the cu
lminating event of the year, the Sundance Cross Country Team traveled to the state championship meet in Sheridan last Saturday. The picturesque VA, with its red brick buildings and bright yellow trees, hosted teams from across the state, including Governor Mead.
The clear morning gave way to strong winds, which made record times elusive at the 3.1 mile race, but that didn’t stop the Sundance team from making team history.
The 2A boys’ division was up first. Freshman Isaiah Kammerer took position up front early. For the next 2.5 miles, he and two other athletes fought neck and neck for first.
With 800 meters left, the runner from Lovell fell away, leaving Kammerer and Jerom Herring from Saratoga to battle it out. As they made the last turn, both boys turned up the heat, with Herring taking a slight lead, which he kept to take first. Kammerer came in two seconds later, taking second place in the state with a time of 17:52.
Next up for Sundance was freshman Hunter Skeens. Unable to take good position early, a pack of three Rocky Mountain runners ran abreast, holding him back early in the race. By the time Skeens was able to leave the pack, he had to make up for lost time. Despite the early setback, Skeens took 12th place with a time of 18:49.
Not far behind was sophomore Titus Schelling. Despite acute peroneal inflammation in his right calf, Titus pushed through the pain, coming in third for Sundance with a time of 19:54.
Freshman Colton Tipton was up next. Coerced to try out cross country upon moving to Sundance earlier this school year, Colton qualified for varsity just last week at conference. His doing so gave Sundance the number of runners necessary to make a state team.
Team captain and junior Brody Skeens brought in the final Sundance score in 21:29, just ahead of two Glenrock runners, securing the final place for the team to earn the third place trophy for team score – the first in Sundance history – bringing smiles to the team’s faces.
At 12:30 p.m. was the 2A girls race, where Sundance sophomore and team captain Tori Wheeler toed the line. Once the gun went off, Wheeler strove to stay with Moorcroft’s two Jones girls, who she trailed all season, hoping to make her move late in the race.
Spending the first mile in second place, upon turning into a brisk headwind, Wheeler fell to third. With eyes set on making up lost time, she entered the last 800 meters neck and neck with Pine Bluffs’ Piper Perez, vying for third place.
600 meters shy of the finish line, a hole in the ground tripped Wheeler, bringing h
er down, causing a pulled quadricep upon impact. Despite the pain in her thigh and end-of-the-race fatigue, Wheeler jumped back up and finished the race strong, taking fourth place in the state with a time of 21:51.
With state medals and a team trophy in hand, the 2017 Sundance Cross Country season comes to a close. I am so proud of these young athletes. When people see what they are able to accomplish while being so young overall, they are amazed. And there’s more where that came from! Keep posted, and we’ll see you next year!
Submitted by Mason Neiman