The Custer High School cross country teams cleaned up well last Thursday at the Black Hills Conference in Sturgis.
The boys won the team title for the second year in a row in a dominating fashion with Joe Rush taking first place in the individual conference championship title with a time of 16 minutes and 30 seconds. This was 20 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, Ty Trainor from St. Thomas More.
The Custer Wildcats won first, tallying a total of 15 points with St. Thomas More coming in second with 47 points.
Wildcat runners Max Oesterling, Nathaniel Youngblood and Logan Block placed third, fourth and seventh, respectively, which completed the scoring. Jace Oesterling and Ben Wahlstrom also medaled, placing at 11th and 14th.
“Overall, it was a strong team performance. The characteristic of this particular group of boys, where another runner steps up if someone has less than their best race, I see this depth as a key for the next two meets; as the state meet is often won or lost by a couple of points,” said coach Karen Karim. “Joe is continuing to race well up front, and Nathaniel has been solid. With Max and Logan steadily improving, and Ben and Jace having the potential to be medalists as well, I hope to be able to push back the West Central and Sioux Falls Christian number three and four runners. In the meantime, we need to take care of business this next week and get qualified for state at the region meet in Belle Fourche on Thursday.”
The junior varsity boys’ time dropped substantially from last week on the same course. Wyatt Dooley placed second, Eli Mines came in third, Danny Nelson was ninth, Tucker Youngblood 10th, Mitchell Snyder and Derek Dueker were 15th and 16th, while Magnus Marlo and Nathan Steele took 31st and 32nd.
The girls team came in second behind Hill City with Mallory Delmont running her best race of the season coming in third behind Kylee Bennett of Sturgis and Hill City’s Karlee Simmons in a three-way, all-out sprint to the finish line. Delmont finished less than two seconds behind Simmons, putting her right where she needs to be going into the next two weeks.
Tori Glazier, Kadense Dooley, Tayler Carlson and Nancy Falkenburg Brown took the 11-14th spots in the race with Ramsey Karim finishing just outside the medals at 16th place.
“This pack would be absolutely what I want to see, other than the little problem of having all four of Hill City’s scorers in front of them. We are going to have to figure out how to break them up with some of our runners, or Hill City will stroll into a state championship. They look tough right now, but I like the way our girls looked this past week—it should be interesting,” said Karim.
The junior varsity girls made significant improvements in their times this week as well. Mackenzie Laverick won the race while Josie Dvorak came in second. Emma Helfer was sixth, Katy Bradeen was eighth, Cinthia Rubio-Hernandez was ninth and Juni Reifling finished 10th. All girls finished in the top 15 medal positions.
“It is fun to watch these kids reap the rewards of all their hard work this season too,” said Karim.
The Custer cross country team will be competing in the Region 5A meet in Belle Fourche on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m.