Snow, wind, and rain may have moved the West Region XC Meet back a week, but the wait was well worth it for the Bowman County Bulldogs.
By Jonathan Jahner
For The Pioneer
On Saturday, the Bulldogs traveled north to Stanley where west region foes awaited. When the dust settled the Dawgs brought home both he boys and girls west region titles, while adding the JV girls title as well.
The girls were up first and the 2nd ranked bulldogs were using this week to gear up for a showdown with the Rugby Panthers at next weeks State Championships. The Lady Dawgs did not disappoint, Jaci Fischer led the girls team with a 4rd place finish, blistering the 5k course in a time of 20:48. Fischer wasn’t alone as the bulldogs packed together claim 5 of the top 10 spots. Alexius Miller followed her teammate to a 4th place finish, while Kenley Bowman placed 5th. A pair of 7th graders rounded out the scoring for the bulldogs as Landyn Gerbig placed 7th and Julie Sarsland 10th. With the bulldogs scoring runners in, it was time for their depth to take over. Paysha Rex had an excellent run to place 15th, as Adyson Gerbig (29th) and Andrea Rodakowski (34th) finished off the day for the bulldogs. “I thought we ran well today, top to bottom, one of our better team races.” Commented Coach Jonathan Jahner. “but we know that the ultimate goal is still out there, and we are going to have to be spot on at State.” The ladies placed 6 runners in the top 20 earning them all-region honors. Alexius Miller was also named 2019 West Region Senior Athlete of the Year along with Katie Kusler (Shiloh) and Katie Hove (Trenton). The girls JV team was also crowned as region champs led by Allie Rae Stotts in 3rd, McKaylee Kalstrom in 4th, Alexia Reisenauer in 9th, and rounding out the scoring was Ryanne Kelly and Kaylee Kinsey.
The 2nd ranked boys team had big shoes to fill and a North Dakota XC powerhouse in the form of the top ranked New Town Eagles standing in their way. New Town has won 14 straight West Region titles, and the bulldogs knew they were going to have to earn it. As a pair of New Town runners dashed to the front of the pack, the bulldogs used their strength to counter with 5 runners packing up to finish in 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th place round out their scoring. The race wasn’t over at that point, as New Town had three more scorers to cross the line. When the scoring was completed, the bulldogs eaked out a 4 point victory led by Brian Miller. After Miller, the bulldogs youth movement kicked into gear. 7th grader Taylor Wanner, and 9th grader Caleb Sarsland placed 8th and 9th, while fellow freshman Austin Wanner placed 12th. Sandwiched in between was senior Camden Wokal in 11th place. “It was really good to see our younger runners step up and finish strong, they have been great all year, but today, they were awesome.” The bulldogs used 5 all region placers (top 20) to claim the top spot in the west, but know that they will have a battle on their hands next week. “We poked the bear today, and I know that New Town will be ready. They have some excellent young men and are very well coached. The ultimate goal is still out there, and we are going to have to be on our A game go get it.” The bulldogs earned 5 all region places and Wokal was named 2019 West Region Senior Athlete of the Year, along with Robert White and Addison RedFox of New Town.