There are 31 runners out for this year’s cross country team, Jon Jahner’s 12th as head coach for Bowman County. The team is comprised of runners 7th grade to 12th.
Jahner’s team graduated four senior runners last year, but added five 7th-graders to the squad.
They started the first practices on Aug. 12, and Jahner said that it was tricky with the swings in temperature.
“You never know in August, (the heat) is the enemy of a distance runner,” Jahner said. “We hate to run in two weeks of that, it just causes a lot of problems and a lot of injury.”
Before school started they began practices in the morning to try and beat the heat. Jahner told the Pioneer that he was happy with what he saw early on.
“We just had an excellent week and a half of practice,” he said. “Kids were just doing a great job.”
They start by building a good base. The runners do some different speed variations but ultimately Jahner wants to get his runners conditioned with a good base start.
The boys ended last season with a 3rd-place finish, and the girls placed fourth at the state meet.
For the girls their lone returning senior is Alexis Miller, who Jahner said has looked good early and is really bringing the leadership to a fairly young girls squad.
“She’s just an excellent leader,” he said. “She’s been a great leader to our young girls.”
Aside from a sophomore, who’s running for the first time this year, the rest of the girls team is filled out with 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.
On the boys side, some of his top leaders include senior Camden Wokal and junior Brian Miller. Miller made the all-state team last year.
The girls opened the season ranked No. 5 in the preseason poll and the boys were ranked No. 4.
It’s a long season, and though Jahner said they kind of have a plan in their heads for their runners as the look onto the upcoming season, they really want the runners to think in short-term increments.
“We’re really challenging our kids, to take it, kind of a week at a time,” Jahner said. “What we’ve kind of done is built in a program here for them, a goal setting program where they’re setting a goal each week.”
The team opened up the season in Williston on Saturday Aug. 24th. The team typically runs in one meet a week.
Jahner has one assistant coach in Duane Bowman.