The West Central Area Knights boys and girls cross country teams had a very successful day in Breckenridge, racing many large schools at the Haugen/Christopher/Berndt Cross Country Meet. There were thirteen other schools there including some of North Dakota's larger districts of Fargo North, Fargo South, and Shanley.
“Our kids weren't intimidated in the least and stuck to their race plans of pack running,” commented Head Coach John VanKempen. “The junior high boys led us off finishing in first place over Fargo North. Kyle Schill led us with a first place finish in the race, but Reubens Swanson and Kade Runge ran with him most of the race finishing in 3rd and 4th.”
Jacob Brown was next for the Knights in 18th, followed by Gaven Raden (21st),Alex Salwasser (25th), Tyler Biss (55th) and Shad Swanson (57th). The junior varsity boys were third with senior Austin Clavin (12th), Chris Onstad (15th),Hunter Mickelson (20th), Tim Ruud (38th), Matt Poyzer (39th) and Brett Duncan (61st).
“We just don't have the number of athletes that these other schools have so we had to space our kids out so we could finish well in the team standings,” noted VanKempen. “At that point, we'd had a first place team and third place team heading into the girls varsity race. With only seven total girls available, we decided to race them in the varsity race and race they did. Our girls finished in second place behind Fargo North. It’s even more impressive that we had 3 seventh graders racing for the first time in their young careers in a varsity 5K. They were Lexi Bright (8th place), Kaitlyn Hanson (39th) and Kennedy Porter (46th). We kind of felt like we like we were throwing them to the wolves before the race started but when the gun went off, they did more than just survive the pack of runners. Sophomore Ella VanKempen, our veteran racer set the pace, she finished in 10th place to make the podium with Lexi. Eighth grader Bryn Fernholz was next in 20th. Bryn will certainly move up as the season progresses. She is very active in State Fair activities so once we get her here on a daily basis she will get back to where she finished the season last year. Chloe LaRue, the other 8th grader had a great race and huge role in the girls second place, Chloe placed 31st. Our sole ninth graderTeagan Nelson has turned into a much stronger, confident racer this year, finished in 23rd. The girls teams was excited to finish in second place.”
The Breckenridge Cowgirls were paced by ninth-grader Bailee Heitkamp in third place (19:56.52).
The boys, coming off a first place in Morris were antsy to race again. Senior Ryley Nelson, broke his school record in the 5K, finishing in second place in 16:13 behind Munir Isahak from Fargo South. Ninth grader Jacob Bright ran with Ryley much of the race and finished in 6th place in 16:48 and Senior Ethan Olsonfinished in 17th in 17:55.
“There was a large fast pack towards the front and everyone just hung on as long as they could until the finish line,” added VanKempen.
Senior Drake Swanson was next in 28th followed by ninth grader Jack Van Kempen in 29th. “It’s been great having these two stick together. Drake has a lot of value to our team allowing Jack to stay on his heals throughout the race. It's an unselfish attitude that makes us a much stronger team. Chase Veldhouse, our sixth runner was just under 20 minutes, finishing in 40th place. The boys were also in second place behind Fargo North. Our next event is in Holdingford on Thursday.”
Sophomore Hunter Gowin placed ninth (17:28.78) to lead Breckenridge. Jordan Mahrar (18:5800) and Zach Haire (18:58.70) finished 31st and 32nd, respectively. Michael Randall was 45th (20:05.02), Isaac Samuels(21:07.97) was 60th, Alex Krack (21:34.87) finished 65th and Logan Comeau was 67th (21:41.21).