A group of state champions picked up where they left off during the 51st Annual Roe Granger-Dakota Silk Screen cross country meet at the Moccasin Creek Soccer Complex Saturday.
Defending Class A individual champs Kelsey Barrett of Britton-Hecla and Dysan Lends His Horse of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte won their respective races. Ipswich, the defending Class B girls' team champ, and CEB, the defending Class A boys' team champion, both won team titles as well.
Barrett won her third title, joining Shannon Daly of Groton and Nicky Rausch of Hoven as the only three-time girls' winners of the event.
Every repeat is more important than the other, but considering it would be my last one and the season is so crucial when it comes to recruitment, this is a little more important than all the rest, Barrett said. Every meet is going to be more important than it ever was this year.
Barrett raced out to an early lead and never trailed in the race, which featured a stellar field of runners.
You have to size up the field. You're either competing against someone else or you're competing against yourself, Barrett said. Once you feel that you've competed against who is on the field with you and you feel like you've got that taken care of, then you say. 'OK now we're going for you.' It's an elite group this year. There was a lot of good runners, today.
Unlike Barrett, Lends His Horse waited for his time to take control. He was running on the heels of Milbank's Jalen Snaza for a good share of the race.
I was trying to keep behind him going into the wind a little bit, seeing what he could do, Lends His Horse said.
With about a half mile remaining, Lends His Horse made his move and ended up winning the race by eight seconds.
He said sometimes he likes to lead early and other times he prefers to pick his spots.
If it isn't too windy, if I'm feeling good, I like to get out and run like that, Lends His Horse said, but today I was just staying back. It was a fun race.
Aberdeen Roncalli finished fourth in both the boys' and girls' team points. The Cavaliers were led by Favian Aguirre and Dan Albl who were 11th and 12th, respectively, in the boys' race and Kendra Woytassek who was sixth in the girls' race.
We're coming along. The kids are working hard, said Roncalli coach Mark Stone. If we keep working hard, we stay healthy, we can keep making progress, our hope would be that we could maybe be one of those teams at the conference meet and the region meet to give ourselves an opportunity to win.
Aberdeen Christian finished sixth in the boys' team standings, led by a 15th place showing from Seth Lundeen.
The Knights once again ran without one of their top runners.
Considering the circumstances I think we did quite well. We had a loaded field, said Christian coach Matt Scott. We're progressing the direction we like. We are still running a little tired. I'm pushing the kids pretty hard.
The Knights head to a meet in Sioux Falls on Saturday that will feature a who's who of runners in the upper Midwest.
Next week's field will be probably be substantially better than this, Scott noted. We'll be competing against some AA schools and even some schools from different states.
Roncalli will compete in the Al Sahli-Bob Salmi meet Friday at Lee Park Golf Course. Stone is looking forward to another home meet.
Today I noticed a lot of our parents and a lot of our student body and that's really important, Stone said.Cross country courses can get a little lonely sometimes, so it's good for our kids to have their friends and family here.