Forty-seven high school teams, 31 college/university teams, and over 1,500 competitors converged at Yankton Trail park in Sioux Falls at the prestigious Augustana Twilight cross country meet.
For the second straight Friday, rain clouds moved through the Sioux Falls area, threatening to cancel or postpone all outdoor events. Although overcast skies and a light on-off drizzle lingered for much of the evening, the heavy storms missed, and the Twilight meet ran as scheduled.
The event is a one of a kind cross country meet, filled with loud music, food trucks, a mascot race, and an overall fun atmosphere. And of course, there was some great racing throughout the evening and into the night.
Senior Cait Savey had a plan to run in the front of the varsity girl’s field, which featured top runners from the entire state and surrounding areas.
Highlighting the field with Savey-the defending Class A state champ in the 3200 meter run-were Ellie Abraham, Brookings (Class AA-800 meter champion), Courtney Klatt, SF Lincoln (Class AA-1600 and 3200 meter champion), Tori Glazier (Class A-800 meter champion), and Delaney Leber, Newell (Class B-800 and 1600 meter state champion).
Savey bolted to the front of the pack with the sound of the gun, and established a strong five second lead after the first mile. As the varsity racers approached the midway point of the 5K race, Savey, Abraham, Klatt, and Yankton’s Madison McClure were the only runners in contention for the title. A chase pack followed, but was nearly 20 seconds back.
With a mile to to go, Abraham moved up on Savey’s side and challenged her for the lead. The two runners ran stride for stride for the next half mile, trying to break away to gain sole possession of the lead. In the last 800 meters, Abaraham finally surged ahead of Savey and for the win in a time of 18:14.
Savey’s gutsy performance, and pushing the pace early, helped her to a new school record time and runner-up finish in 18:24. McClure finished 3rd in 18:26, and Klatt was 4th in 18:33.
Savey’s teammates were also giving it their all in the challenging field of 176 runners. Anna Atwood started out towards the back of the pack, and smoothly navigated her way through the field to finish with a time of 20:59 and a 57th place finish.
Gabrielle Engabrth and Katie Knutson teamed up during the race and passed runners with each mile as the duo finished 87th and 88th with times of 21:42 and 21:44, respectively.
Sabrina Swee was the 5th runner for the girls finishing 125th in 22:26. Hannah Ebert, running in her final Augie Twilight meet finished 145th in 23:03. Grace Quartier rounded out the varsity girl’s team with her 162nd place time of 24:02.
In the boy’s varsity race, Alec Atwood used his race experience from last year at the Twilight meet, and wisely started out towards the back of the pack to avoid the jostling, speed bursts and quick pace of the first chase pack.
Atwood ran just outside the top 50 as he hit the mile marker. He was feeling good, and decided it was time to push towards the front of the pack in a race which had 217 finishers.
With under a mile to go, Atwood found himself near the top-20, which is a great feat in a race of this caliber. He would unleash a strong final 600 meters and finish 19th overall in season-best time of 16:44.
Juniors Noah Hinrichs and Dallas Davis had great races as well as Hinrichs finished in 89th (18:13), and Davis crossed the line in 108th place (18:29).
Veteran runner Jake Limmer had another solid race for the Watchdogs placing 126th in 18:44. Freshman Brandon Andrews (160th-19:24) and seniors Hayden Brewers (179th-19:57), and Trystan Olbertson (194th-20:29) ran together for much of the race before separating from one another in the final mile.
With five runners scoring points for the team, the varsity girls placed 12th and the varsity boys placed 15th.
The JV girls were led by Alana Bergalnd’s 145th place time of 25:50. She was running her first varsity race of her career. Tianna Schlup finished in 182nd place with a time of 27:03, and Dani Larsen was the final runner for the JV girl’s placing 187th in 27:12.
The JV boy’s race was the largest race of the day, featuring 315 runners. Eighth grader Tommy Cordell was the front runner for the Watchdogs as he ran a strong final mile to place 150th in 21:23. Caleb Weiland was close to Cordell at the finish, placing 162nd in 21:44.
Also running for the Watchdogs were Gage Lyle (185th-22:02), Jerry Chen (225th-22:50), Cody Klungseth (251st-23:17), Josh Limmer (254th-23:20), Noah Turner (263rd, 23:42), Nathaniel O’Hara (280th-24:23), Caleb Larson (284th-24:26), Spencer Upton (299th-24:59), and Kalub Bickett (305th-25:17).
In the first annual mascot race, the Watchdog mascot took second place overall with a great time in the mascot 100-meter dash. Congrats to the Watchdog on your fine performance.
The Watchdog team was also able to watch some Beresford running alumni in the college races. Running for Dordt college were Riley Schaap and Kendra Schaap, and running for the University of South Dakota was Ashlynn Atwood.