By Jacy Glazier
The Custer Cross Country team was hit with a virus last week that left a couple varsity runners out of commission and weakened others.
Ben Wahlstrom and Mitchell Snyder sat out on the boys side and Tori Glazier was out on the girls side at the meet Friday, Sept. 22, at Hart Ranch.
“Even without the complete teams, we had respectable placings,” said coach Karen Karim. “The varsity boys finished fourth overall and the girls were sixth. There were several high-powered out-of-state teams competing in this meet, as well as some stiff competition from around South Dakota coming to get a look at the state meet course for this year.”
The boys were again led by Joe Rush who finished with a seventh-place medal.
“Joe competed tough, hanging with the lead packs for a majority of the race. His time of 16:42 was good, considering the wind. He was actually the second South Dakota runner to cross the line,” said Karim.
Nathaniel Youngblood ran a great race, placing 15th overall, and continues to improve each week. Max Oesterling came in 30th, followed by his brother Jace at 37th and Logan Block at 49th, which rounded out the top five scorers at the meet. Other varsity runners included Eli Mines at 68th and Wyatt Dooley at 81st.
“It was a good experience for our boys to get into a big race (151 competitors) on this particular course, so they will know how it will run at state, although the competition shouldn’t be as tough going against only Class A competition,” said Karim.
In the JV race, Tucker Youngblood battled to medalist honors, placing 19th, with Danny Nelson placing 42nd, Derek Dueker 61st and Nathan Steele 118th.
On the girls side, Mallory Delmont ran a tough race in the wind, finishing ninth with a time of 19:35.
“She positioned herself well, with the pack of girls toward the front of the race. Each week she makes gains, knocking off another competitor or two from teams we have seen before,” Karim said.
Tayler Carlson and Kadence Dooley came in at 29th and 30th, separated by .9 of a second. The next two runners were separated by only five seconds with seventh grader Ramsey Karim and eighth-grader Nancy Falkenburg Brown placing 49th and 52nd, respectively. Mackenzie Laverick was the final varsity runner, coming in at 91st.
“It was good to see our younger runners stepping up into the varsity race as tough as they did. As we look ahead to the meets we have left, Hill City isn’t going to go away in the Black Hills Conference, region or state meets, so we are going to have to figure out how to compete with them. I am pleased with how we are progressing,” said Karim.
In the JV race, Josie Dvorak was the lone award winner, coming in at 18th. Juni Reifling finished 32nd, Emma Helfer at 42nd, Cinthia Rubio Hernandez at 49th and Katy Bradeen at 54th.
The next cross country meet will be Thursday, Sept. 28, at 1:30 p.m. in Sturgis.