Dogies put up good times

Sonja Karp

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


With the conference meet looming ever closer, head cross country coach Kathy Beehler is feeling good about where her runners are, but acknowledges there is still work to be done in the short time remaining in the season.

Last week, her team competed twice — in Hot Springs on Tuesday and again at Hart Ranch on Friday. In both competitions, Beehler was pleased with the way her athletes competed but admitted she would like to see bigger time drops.

“Though it looks like the course in Hot Springs is pretty challenging, it’s not as hilly as Belle and Custer,” she began. “We won both the varsity and the JV men’s races, and we competed well. Our times were better, but I think we didn’t quite give it all we’ve got.”

In the varsity division, the Dogies had a new leader with freshmen Avery Chick crossing the finish line first for his team in fifth place with a time of 19:16.50. Carson Bock was hot on his heels in eighth place, Zach Purviance in 10th, Jacob Rhoades in 12th, Peyton Purviance in 19th, Collin Dudzinski in 20th and Matthew Drake in 25th. The finish combined to give the team 29 points, besting second place Douglas, SD by 21.

Coach Beehler divided the ladies into both the varsity and JV divisions, so there were not enough runners to score as a team. However, as individuals they also had a good showing. In varsity, Hailey McGuire once again led the charge finishing 7th in 24:17.50. She was followed by Alaina Laurence in 10th and Shelby Stith in 12th. 

Lara Lopez took second in the JV race and posted the fastest time overall for the Dogies by clocking in at 23:57.22, and Avery Alicehouse claimed the 13th spot.

“Lara competed very well in JV,” Beehler exclaimed. “She ran by herself and she didn’t have to think about where she should be. She just ran. I thought that was great for her to see how it should work, and now we have to get all of them to think like that when they are running together in varsity.”

On Friday, the team was in Rapid for another full day of competition, and given the relatively flat nature of the course, Beehler was expecting to see some fast times. When the results came in, her expectations were met by nearly all who raced.

“I thought we ran well again and I compared our times with PRs set so far this season, and pretty much everyone got one,” she grinned. “Then I compared them with our times from Rapid last year, and it was nice to see there was improvement there as well.”

PJ Martin, despite not having felt well for the past couple of weeks, was four seconds faster than his current PR and 33 seconds faster than he was last year at this time. 

Freshman Tristan Troftgruben finished first for the Dogies in 40th place. In doing so he became the second Dogie to break into the 17s, and bested his season PR by 37 seconds with his 17:55.8 finish. Chick improved his best time by 45 seconds and broke into the 18s, Drake had a 2:00 improvement and Travis Scribner dropped an astonishing four minutes.

Rhoades, Peyton Purviance and Gavin Gray each shaved two and a half minutes off their PRs, while Reid Holmes, Dudzinski and Bock had one minute time drops.

“We’re on track for where we should be heading into Conference, but there’s still more potential that needs to be tapped,” Beehler declared. “We’re still trying to get bunched together better, and we need to get some more guys into the 17s. So far, it’s just Dylan [Talley] and Tristan who have made it, but Avery, PJ, Zach and Carson all have the ability to get there.”

The Lady Dogies were down two runners so it was just McGuire, Lopez and Laurence representing Newcastle in the JV race. The three finished in that order in 13th, 23rd and 25th place. Like their male counterparts, each took time off their race and all finished under 24 minutes.

“We have two more weeks to get ready for Conference and State, and I think all of our kids have a little more in the tank,” Beehler nodded. “The workouts we do now will help us in two weeks, so what we do starting this week is super important to bank for those meets.”

This Thursday, the squad heads to Sturgis for a competition there, where Beehler expects to see improvements and time drops again.


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