The Beresford boy’s and girl’s cross country teams gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about, as both varsity teams won team titles at the Region 3A meet, held Thursday, October 12 in Beresford.
The Bridges golf course in Beresford hosted the region meet, which included teams from Beresford, Bon Homme, Canton, Dakota Valley, Elk Point-Jefferson, Ethan/Parkston, Lennox, Parker, Tea Area, Vermillion, and Wagner.
Both of the Watchdog squads edged Lennox for the team championship. The varsity girls kicked off the day with a 33-40 victory, and the boys following suit with a 33-43 win over the Orioles. Ethan/Parkston placed third in the girl’s race with 47 points, and Vermillion was 3rd in the boy’s team standings with 40 points.
The top three teams and top 20 individuals in the varsity races automatically qualified for the state meet, which will be held Saturday, October 21 at Hart Ranch Camping Resort in Rapid City.
With the 3:00 P.M. start time approaching, runners and fans were treated to temps in the mid-60s, a steady southerly wind, and plenty of sunshine.
The girl’s varsity 5K race was just minutes away, and Beresford’s Cait Savey knew she would be in another all-out battle with Vermillion standout Maddie Lavin. The two seniors have gone back and forth in track and cross country races for the past four years, with Lavin winning the most recent match-up at the Lennox Invitational two weeks prior.
As soon as the gun fired, Lavin, the DAK XII champ, and Savey, winner of the Big East meet, quickly established themselves as the two runners to beat, as they surged to the front of the field.
Lavin pressed hard up the slightly uphill 2nd fairway and straight into a punishing 20-mph wind out of the south. Savey tried to stay relaxed and fast, but her Vermillion rival already established a 10-second cushion at the 1K mark.
Calm and composed, the Watchdog senior gradually closed the gap, finally catching Lavin with a mile to go. With some fuel left in the tank for the final mile, Savey moved past Lavin and raced to the individual victory in 19:18, with Lavin holding on for runner-up in 19:44.
Eighth grader Anna Atwood knew she would have some work to do as the second runner for the Watchdogs, and the young runner went out with the chase pack right from the gun.
Atwood held strong for a much needed 5th place time of 21:08. Her training partner, Gabrielle Engbarth, did what she has done all season, and ran a smart and steady race throughout, earning the 13th place medal in 21:51.
The duo of Laura Bogue and Katie Knutson would seal the team victory for the ladies, with Bogue taking home 16th place in 22:17, and Knuston crossing right behind her in 17th place in 22:20. Senior Hanna Ebert was the 6th runner for the girls finishing her final race on her home course in 25:32 and 44th place.
The Region 3A championship was the third consecutive region title for the Beresford girl’s team.
During the race, the Beresford boy’s team lined the finish chute, and cheered the girls to the finish. As soon as the race was over, they headed to box #3 and readied themselves for their chance to make it to the state meet.
Seniors Jake Limmer and Hayden Brewers kept the team focused as the final commands were given by
meet starter Kevin Nelson. They would need to be on their “A” game to knock off their rivals from Lennox, and hold off a much improved Vermillion boys team.
With a 3:30 P.M. start, Lennox’s Camden Wulf bolted to the front of the field and took an impressive lead at the mile mark. Junior Alec Atwood, already racing in the 4th varsity region race of his career, stayed in contact with the Oriole runner, carefully conserving his own energy on his home course.
The wind was still howling and Atwood decided it was time to make his move up the #5 fairway, overtaking Wulf with just over a mile to race. Atwood looked smooth the rest of the race, and would take home his first ever region crown in 17:03. Wulf was second with a time of 17:25.
Noah Hinrichs continued his impressive year as he stayed within reach of Atwood for much of the race. The team would need a top-10 finish at a minimum from Hinrichs if they wanted to win the team title.
Hinrichs battled fatigue with a half-mile to the finish, but found another gear in the final stretch as he gutted out a 5th place finish in 17:48.
The three and four runners would be key for Beresford, and Brewers, Limmer, Dallas Davis, and Brandon Andrews ran together just outside the top-20 with 2K to go in the race.
The pack-running of the three veterans paid off, and Brewers had the extra steam on this day, unleashing a ferocious final 800-meter kick to crack the top-10 with his 10th place time of 18:12. Limmer, bidding for his 5th straight state meet appearance, willed his way to the tape in 17th with a time of 18:37.
Davis was the 5th runner for Beresford as he finished right behind Limmer in 19th place in 18:49. Newcomer Brandon Andrews placed 22nd in his first region race with an impressive time of 19:03.
The boy’s victory was their first region title since 2011, the year Hayden Palmer and Jared Truman led the Watchdogs to a 4th place finish at the state meet.
The excitement continued for the Watchdogs with the JV races capping off the day in style with more great finishes.
Grace Quartier (2nd, 18:31), Sabrina Swee (4th, 18:59), Adyson Hansen (5th, 19:02) and Faith Weiland (7th, 19:20) had amazing races in the girl’s 4K, helping the team to a 1st place tie with Ethan/Parkston as both teams tallied 18 points. The team from Ethan/Parkston would end up winning the tie breaker, however, as their 5th runner placed ahead of Beresford’s 5th.
Also running for the JV girls were: 17 Addy Wills 19:53, 23 Lucy Farley 20:29, 28 Lilly Traxler 20:55, 29 Tianna Schlup 20:55, 32 Macy Quartier 21:22, 36 Isabel DeLay 22:37, 37 Shae Jones 22:47, 46 Abigail Zanter 22:37, 48 Ashleigh Colford 23:45, and 52 Tayler Bauman 24:57.
Jerry Chen, a Beresford foreign exchange student, shocked his teammates with a come-from-behind finish in the JV boy’s 4K race, sprinting to the finish line in 3rd place in 15:48. Eighth grader Tommy Cordell capped off a great first year as a Watchdog runner finishing 5th in 15:54, while senior Trystan Olbertson ran a great last race finishing 6th in 16:01.
The boys would go on to place 2nd as a team with a very low score of 28 points. Also running for the JV boys were: 16 Caleb Weiland 16:26, 22 Josh Limmer 16:50, 27 Gage Lyle 16:58, 31 Cody Klungseth 17:19, 33 Nick Casperson 17:23, 34 Nathaniel O’Hara 17:26, 39 Cameron Wells 17:40, 48 Billy Roelke 18:19, 49 Caleb Larson 18:20, 53 Austin Tjaden 18:30, 57 Noah Turner 18:37, 58 Mason Heiberger 18:42, 64 Aitor Eguliz 19:07, 66 Spencer Upton 19:09, 68 Kalub Bickett 19:16, 73 Caleb Turner 19:30, 88 Jackson Heiberger 20:17, 89 Jack Erlandson 20:38, and 90 Brian Klarenbeek 20:54.
Thank you to the Bridges for hosting the meet and for hosting the team for the post-race meal. The Watchdogs head to the South Dakota State XC Meet on Saturday, October 21.