On a cool and windy day at the Hart Ranch Camping Resort south of Rapid City, senior Cait Savey and junior Alec Atwood scorched the 5K course in their respective races at the 2017 state cross country meet on October 21.
Savey was crowned the state champion in the girl’s race, and Atwood finished runner-up in the boy’s race, as both helped their teams to state meet podium finishes.
In what quickly turned into a rematch of the girl’s 3200-meter race at the 2017 state track meet, Savey ran side-by-side with Hill City standout, Karlee Simmons, as the duo controlled the Class-A girl’s race at 1:00 P.M.
With a blistering 5:22 first mile, the two runners would fight for the lead, getting encouragement as they raced past a steady line of screaming fans.
Neither runner was willing to give into the torrid pace, and it was clear they were trying to increase the pace to break away from one another.
Savey knew she would have to find a point in the race to create some distance from Simmons before the final turn, and with 800 meters to go, she put on one final surge that would hopefully be enough the hold off the Ranger runner.
Rounding the final right turn, Savey eyed the finish chute and held her form down the last 100 meters, never looking back as she knew Simmons has a strong finish of her own.
Savey, 5th place in 2016, capped off her stellar senior campaign, as she triumphantly reached the tape, winning a thrilling individual title in 18:35. Her time was the second best of the day behind Class AA’s Ellie Abraham of Brookings, who won the first race of the afternoon in 18:23.
Simmons gave Savey all she could handle and held on for a runner-up time of 18:45.
Anna Atwood, an 8th grader running in her 2nd state meet, battled her way through a talented field, racing like a seasoned veteran, as she finished 30th in 20:51.
Freshman Gabrielle Engbarth was once again the 3rd runner for the girls holding on for a much needed 53rd place time of 21:38.
Sophomore Katie Knutson was the final scorer for the girl’s as she finished 66th in 22:01, and freshman Laura Bogue was the pusher as she crossed the line in 22:13 for 74th place.
Senior Hannah Ebert was battling an injury and was unable to finish the race.
With the final results being tallied, would he depth of the girl’s team enough to earn a top-six plaque?
The final results were officially posted, and the 8th ranked Watchdog’s gritty performance was just enough to claim 6th place with 115 points. Flandreau, the Big East Conference champions were 7th with 117 points.
Alec Atwood, 12th at the 2016 state XC meet, was primed to have a breakout race and had his sights set on a top-5 finish in 2017.
The Class A boy’s race was the final race of the day with a 2:30 P.M. start time. By now, the extremely dry course was packed down and the dead grass and dirt kicked up into the air as flurry of 127 runners bolted out of the starting box as the starter’s gun fired.
West Central’s Derick Peters (heavy-favorite and #11 ranked boy in the nation according to Milesplit) would go onto win the Class A boy’s race in 15:06, but the real excitement came in the race for 2nd place.
Atwood, already running in his 4th state meet, tucked behind a quartet of runners with Lance Van Zee (SF Christian), Ty Trainor (STM), Brayden Peters (West Central), and Joe Rush (Custer) bunched up about a minute behind Derick Peters after the first 2K of the race.
The group never separated staying within a second of one another through the 4K mark. It was clear the race would come down to the final stretch.
Braden Peters, the younger brother of the state champion Derick, was the first to make a move as he surged to a five second lead with just 600 meters to race. Atwood had him in his view though and didn’t let the fellow junior slip away.
With a remarkable final sprint to the finish, the crowd erupted as Atwood leaned at the tape to beat Peters and claim the runner-up medal in 15:48.74, with the Trojan standout finishing 3rd in 15:59.4 Trainor was 4th in 16:05.
Atwood’s time would end up as the 3rd fastest time of the day, regardless of class, and his runner-up finish was the best boy’s finish in Beresford history.
Junior Noah Hinrichs, coming off a 29th place finish a year ago, earned a meet medal with his 22nd place finish of 17:24. Hinrichs had an outstanding season and has matured into a dominate runner in the area.
Senior Hayden Brewers took another 25 seconds off his personal best time as he was the 3rd runner for the Watchdogs finishing in 33rd with a time of 17:46.
Dallas Davis, a junior, had the best race of his life as well, racing to the tape in 17:54 and 36th place.
Senior Jake Limmer ended his career in 60th place with a time of 18:19. This was the 5th state meet appearance for the veteran leader of the team.
Newcomer Brandon Andrews, a sophomore, had 30 second PR finishing 65th in 18:30.
The boy’s had one of those days were everything clicked for everyone on the same day, and it earned them an impressive 4th place team finish with 77 points.
It was an overall great day for Beresford as they finished 4th in the combined team race as well.
Congratulations to the state meet qualifiers and the entire team on another successful season and exciting state meet. And thank you to all of the fans, parents, and runners who made the journey to Rapid City to cheer on the Watchdogs.