Since the first day of Cross Country practice the bulldogs knew they were going to have to lean on some newcomers.
As the Bulldogs reach the midpoint of the 2018 season, the Anderson/Stavn meet in Bismarck acted as a backdrop to a youth infusion. All season long the bulldogs have been led by a core of veterans, with Camden Wokal and Brian Miller directing the boys squad, and Alexius Miller and Abigail Bartholomay in charge of the girls. While their leadership and roles have not changed, the youth movement providing the depth is taking shape.
In a sport where you cannot hide scoring runners (the top 5 runners), the 5th runner is just as important at the first. The trend set this week was a welcomed sight as five junior high runners cracked the top 5 for the bulldogs this week. “It is a great sign; they are young, they are learning, and they are improving everyday.” State coach Jonathan Jahner. “All of our newcomers have provided a boost of energy to our family.”
On the girls side, the boost has come in the form of 8th grader Paysha Rex, and 7th grader Kenley Bowman. “Paysha has been consistent and is a great runner for us all season. Kenley is really starting to figure things out, and we are seeing the results of her growth each and every day.” Continued coach Jahner. At the end of the day, Bowman and Rex ran as the Dawgs 2nd and 3rd runners behind a very good race form Alexius Miller. The bulldogs remaining scorers came from Vanessa Fischer, who has been steadily improving each week, and Bartholomay who has been a steady force for the Dawgs over the past 5+ seasons. In a very competitive race, primarily composed of class A runners, Miller finished in 44th, Bowman 67th, Rex 80th, Fischer 88th, and Bartholomay 97th. The Dawgs finished the team race in 12th place, overall, 2nd in class B behind Hillsboro-Central Valley, this weeks #2 rated team.
On the boys side, Miller and Wokal continued to battle out front finishing in 61st and 67th respectively. Behind them three junior high runners, and a newcomer filled out the varsity scoring. Austin Wanner crossed the line in 75th, while Caleb Sarsland took 90th, Karsen Kulseth 100th, and Eli Heyen in 104th. The Dawgs captured 12th place overall, and 4th in class B. “We were missing Ethan Fischer today, so it was crucial that our younger runners stepped up. Only a handful of JH boys competed in the race and our young guys did a heck of a job.” Said Coach Jahner
In the JV divisions the trend continued as 7th grader Alexia Reisenauer led the girls squad. On the boys side, sophomore Noah Wokal took control. With the youth movement up top, the bulldogs were pretty light in the Junior High Races, but 8th grader McKaylee Kalstrom was the top placer for the girls squad.
On a day that 21 of the 25 runners set season best times. Coach Jahner summed up the day stating, “We were happy with the day, but know we have better, and that is exciting.” The Bulldogs will get that opportunity on Friday, Sept. 21st at the Becki Wells Invite. Full results and schedules can be found on the Bowman County Cross Country webpage.