Beginning to hit their stride

Sonja Karp

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


Newcastle Dogie Cross Country head coach Kathy Beehler has been waiting for her team to put up faster times, and with only one meet remaining before conference, several did just that last Thursday in Sturgis.

“We had six PRs (personal records) and another of our boys dropped into the 17s,” Beehler exclaimed. “That means they were faster than they were in Rapid, which is a great thing because it means we are really dropping time.”

Tristan Troftgruben and PJ Martin were among those nabbing PRs, and both dropped into the 17s on the day. Troftgruben was the first Dogie to cross the finish line in 16th place with a time of 17:50.9 which eclipsed his previous personal best by five seconds.

Martin was 19th and hot on the heels of Troftgruben finishing in 17:53.93, 19 seconds faster than his season best time.

“PJ is running faster than he was at state last year, which is great considering he is just coming off being sick,” Beehler nodded. “That means he still has some left in the tank, so we will see more drops and I’m excited for that.”

Zach Purviance was the third Dogie to finish, and though he did not pick up a PR on the day, he did improve his time from the Rapid City meet last week, which Beehler considers promising.

“Everyone else ran pretty well, but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in the spread between our top runners,” Beehler frowned. “We had been 41 seconds from the first to the final runner, but on Thursday we were over a minute. I would have liked to have seen us closer together.”

The top three JV runners also had PRs, including Reid Holmes, Collin Dudzinski and Gunnar Wainscott. In addition, Michael Tomlinson improved his best time by three and a half minutes.

“It is really exciting to see these guys finishing with faster times each week,” Beehler exclaimed. “They are running well and getting things figured out.”

The Lady Dogies were also putting up good numbers. Alaina Laurence was the first to finish, doing so in 46th place. Lara Lopez followed her in at 47th. Like their male counterparts, these two nabbed PRs of 23:20.46 and 23:23.68 respectively. 

“For the last four weeks, Alaina has gotten faster and Lara has done the same in the last three weeks,” Beehler explained. “They are running well, but just have to keep improving.”

Absent from the race was the season’s leading lady, Hailey McGuire, as she suffered cramping during the race and had to drop out.

This week the team will compete in their final regular season meet at the Cheyenne Invitational on Friday. 

“We will be jumping into Wyoming for the first time this season, so it will be nice to see what is out there,” Beehler declared. “You can go online and get a hypothetical idea of how things might play out, but you don’t know until we’re running head-to-head.”


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