In the world of cross country, September is a month predicated on training and testing, and the Dawgs got their fail share of both to open the month. One of the busiest weeks of the season started with the Belle Fourche Invite where 90-degree temps and an abundance of hills tested the Bulldog XC team. Conditions meant quality times were hard to achieve, but the quality of racing didn’t disappoint.
The Dawgs placed runners in all divisions as Alexius Miller and Paysha Rex placed 11th and 14th in the varsity girls division. Vanessa Fischer did her part placing 3rd in the JV girls race, and Kenley Bowman took 14th in the JH division. On the boys side the dynamic duo of Brian Miller and Camden Wokal were at it again. Miller finished in 10th and Wokal was on his heels in 11th. Eli Heyen continued his early season surge finishing 8th in the JV boys division, while Caleb Sarsland and Karsen Kulseth took 7th and 12th place in the JH boys division.
On Saturday, the testing continued as the Bulldogs took to the Mandan Kiwanis Invite where a competitive field of over 900 North Dakota runners assembled. The quality of the field matched the quantity as many past and future all state runners gathered to battle the 5000m course at Mandan Municipal
In the girls division the bulldogs finished 9th as a team, as they were bested by 7 class A teams and the #1 ranked B team, the Rugby Panthers. Alexuis Miller again paced the bulldogs, and was followed closely by Paysha Rex, Abigail Bartholomay, Kenley Bowman, and Vanessa Fischer. In the Junior High division, Alexia Reisenauer powered through the 3K course to plpace 24, while McKaylee Kalstrom finished in 74th and Kaylee Kinsey in 78th.
In the boys division, Miller and Wokal were back to their old tricks, this time Wokal bested Miller placing 49th (11th in Class B), while Miller was close behind in 58th (15th in class B). Most of the Dawgs ran in the JV division where Austin Wanner paced the Bowman County runners with a 20th place finish. Behind Wanner the bulldogs packed up as Ethan Fischer placed 38th, Caleb Sarsland 43rd, Karsen Kulseth 46th, and Eli Heyen in 54th. Their efforts were good enough to place them 7th as a team. Also competing for the bulldogs were Noah Wokal, Aidan Thompson, Kalorada Eagon, Brady Hendrickson, Luke Fischer, Ben Knopp, Dylan Kalstrom, and Cory Janovsky.
While the present XC team looks great, the bulldogs go t a glimpse of what they future could hold as the bulldogs has 6 runners in the 6th grade division and four in the elementary race. In the boys 6th grde division Taylor Wanner brought home first place finishing the mile run in 5:48. On the Girls Side Adyson and Landyn Gerbig led the way in 3rd and 5th place, but were closely followed by Julie Sarsland in 9th, Raegan Honeyman in 14th and Rhyanne Kelly in 27th. In the Elementary Race Gabe Sarsland took home 3rd, while Hudson Burke, Olivia Fischer, and Aftin Hendrickson also competed very well.
Assistant coach Duane Bowman summed up the week by stating, “We saw some really good things this week. Coming off a tough week of practice and two races, we tightened our gap between our 1 through 5 runners on both the girls and boys teams. Our veterans continue to lead us, but our rookies and young ones are stepping up and getting better every day.” The Dawgs will look to continue their growth and development as they travel to Bismarck on Saturday for the Anderson/Stavn Invite.