Ranger runners race to regions

Esther Noe
On Oct. 6 the Hill City Ranger cross country team raced at the Black Hills Conference Cross Country Championships in Spearfish. This course was flat and fast and left the Rangers in good standing for the region meet. 
The Ranger boys placed second overall in the varsity 5K. According to head coach Joe Noyes team only lost to Belle Fourche by seven points. This is encouraging because Belle Fourche has the returning state champ from Class A and Class B on its team. 
For Hill City, Luke Rupert claimed third with a time of 16:12.08. 
Next, Noyes said “Leighton Aves ran a stellar race, breaking 16:30.” He finished in seventh place at 16:28.94. 
Tate Grabow broke into the top 10 runners by finishing in ninth place with a time of 16:51.54. Then, Brandon Escalante crossed the line in 15th with a time of 17:28.89. 
As a result, Rupert, Aves, Grabow and Escalante achieved all conference. 
CJ Stoeckmann was next to finish in 33rd with a time of 18:51.09. After that, Aiden Williams at 19:09.84 finished 37th. 
Meanwhile, the Ranger girls placed fourth in the varsity 5K. According to Noyes, “There was only one Class A school ahead of us which was Custer. So that's a good indicator.”
Aspen Veneklasen claimed seventh out of 47 runners with a time of 19:42.94. 
Of this Noyes said that “To be all conference at her first high school conference meet is pretty awesome.”
Next, Brooke Thayer-Burke raced across the line in 21st at 20:44.57. Close behind her was Paiton Flick in 29th with a time of 21:46.31.  After that, Jaelyn Peters finished 35th at 22:12.40, and Lillie Ross finished 39th at 22:29.43. 
“You can tell that as our boys and girls are rounding into shape it’s definitely all that work over the summer paying off,” said Noyes. 
The next cross country meet for the Rangers is the Region 5A Cross Country Meet at Hart Ranch Golf Course in Rapid City Thursday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. 
Only the top three teams and the top 20 athletes will move on to the state meet. 

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