A disappointing run at state

By: 
Sonja Karp

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Editor

 

The Dogie and Lady Dogie Cross Country team ended their 2021 season last Saturday in Ethete, and head coach Kathy Beehler admitted that the day did not go as anyone had hoped.

“We all ran a little flat, and it kind of seemed like we had jet lag,” she sighed. “We had a few good drops last week but we just couldn’t hold it. I have to take a look at that to see if some decisions we made need to be revisited next year.”

The course was relatively flat, though it had more hills than the conference course the runners competed on last week in Worland. The weather was chilly, but not cold, so conditions were conducive to running. These two factors made the finishes for nearly every runner disappointing for everyone.

“The kids were disappointed with how they did,” Beehler said. “There were some tears at the end of the day, which showed how passionate they are about their sport.”

A unique aspect of the state meet being run in Ethete is that rather than the runners being led off the starting line by a golf cart, they were ushered out of the gate by a horse and rider. Avery Chick, who was the Dogie’s number one runner all season, admitted that this fact may have contributed to creating a much faster start than usual.

“I don’t know if it had anything to do with it, but I think we all started a little faster behind the horse,” Chick admitted. “My split at the one mile mark was 5:34, which is much faster than I usually run.”

The fast start would end up coming back to haunt Chick as he finished as the second Dogie runner for the first time this season. 

Freshman Thatcher Troftgruben, who was coming off his All-Conference finish last week in Worland, was the first across the finish line for the Dogies in 30th place with a time of 18:18.46. Chick was next in 47th finishing in 18:41.41, Sam Scribner was 54th with a time of 18:57.95, while Mathew Drake finished 72nd in 19:50.49.

Wyatt Cole was 75th with a time of 19:56.87, Max Makousky finished 91st in 20:44.12 and Tayson Wheeler wrapped it up for the Dogies as the 100th-place finisher in 21:17.66.

“Avery went out hard and a little faster than he knew he should have. He was trying for All-State, and at one point he was running in sixth place, which just isn’t him,” Beehler explained. “Unfortunately, he ran out of gas so it wasn’t his best race.”

Only one Dogie runner from both teams finished the day with a personal best. Taylor Conklin took 45 seconds off her previous best time and moved up to finish as the third runner for the Lady Dogies for the first time this year.

Aspen Bloom was once again the first across the finish line for the Lady Dogies. She finished 43rd with a time of 22:42.20, Janaya Ralls was 54th in 23:28.81, and Conklin was next, finishing 70th in 24:31.48. Rachel Baird was 78th with a time of 25:05.12, Tara Carter finished 84th in 25:47.15 and Julie Morris closed it out for the team crossing the finish line in 94th with a time of 28:40.55.

“The times we put up were hard on everyone, and we were all trying to figure out what we did,” Beehler mused. “We went there to run our best and we did that, but why didn’t our times reflect that effort? That was hard for us to wrap our heads around.”

A bright spot from the day was that the runners began immediately to make plans for what they could do to improve for next season.

“The number one way to be a championship team is to run in the off season and to run in packs,” Beehler determined. “They are already talking about winter training and getting into the weight room to get stronger so they can handle the workload necessary during the season, and that is just really awesome to see.”

With the season at a close, Beehler and her team say goodbye to five senior runners. Chick, Drake, Makousky, Travis Scribner and Zade Osborn will be moving on
next year, and Beehler admitted that she will miss having
them around.

“I am so fortunate to have such a great group of kids to work with, and I am so going to miss the seniors. They are just the best, and each of them were so good for our freshmen and they were such a great group of leaders,” she said. “I think our freshmen are recognizing that they will need to step into those leadership roles next year.” 

Of the 107 runners in the men’s race on Saturday, there were only a handful of seniors, so across the state teams have a lot of athletes returning next season. As such, the Dogies and Lady Dogies will need to ramp things up in order to be competitive in 2022.

“We know where we need to go next season so that’s exciting,” Beehler said. “The kids coming back have so much talent and they are dedicated to doing their best so I am really looking forward to seeing what they can do next year.”

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