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Five questions heading into the Class B state CC meet

By Staff | Oct 19, 2009

The Class B cross country season will wrap up on Oct. 24 in Valley City, the site of the state meet, and for Rugby it could end up a day to remember.

The Panther boys program enters the meet a serious contender for its first-ever state title and there is the possibility a number of runners on both the boys and girls side to earn all-state honors. Here’s five questions that will be answered today.

Can Rugby earn its first-ever state boys title?

No program has displayed as much talent and depth as Rugby this season. The team, which was runner-up at state a year ago, has been ranked first in the coaches poll all season and has won eight regular season meets and the region title. The team ran the state meet course in a meet in Valley City on Sept. 19 which featured all the top programs in the state, and the Panthers won convincingly.

Four Rugby runners have led the team at a meet this season and

six are quite capable of completing 5,000 meters with a sub 18:30 time. If the Panthers run at that level, they should reach their goal of a state title.

Can Sydney Kraft defend her individual title?

Winning a state title is hard, defending it is even harder, and Rugby sophomore Sydney Kraft is finding that out this season. She knew entering the season there was quite a number of top-end runners going to challenge her, and several close to home. Dunseith has a couple in Shayla Counts and Chandra Yankton and Velva has Tasha Heisler. That trio along with Kraft have been among the top 10 individual runners ranked in the Class B coaches poll most of the year. Although Sydney has not won a meet this season, she continues to finish near the top. It would take a season-best effort from Kraft to defend her title, but it’s certainly within her to do it.

Will Dylan Yoder earn all-state honors an impressive sixth time?

The last one could be the most challenging for the senior. He finished 10th at the recent East Region Meet and will need to run a better race on Saturday, Oct. 24 to finish in the top 20 and earn all-state honors for a sixth consecutive year. If Dylan can do that, it would further cement him as the program’s best ever runner.

Just how many from Rugby will earn all-state honors?

Five earned all-state honors in 2008, including four on the boys side. It’s hard to say, given so many things that can happen at a meet such a large volume of runners. However, it’s conceivable that six or maybe seven Panther runners could be on the all-state awards stand later today. That would be a lot of orange and black.

Can both squads again finish in the top five?

Rugby has established itself as among the best CC programs in the state. The boys have finished fifth or better the past four seasons. The girls, meanwhile, have also had their share of success, earning top five finishes in 2005 and 2006. They were seventh in 2007 and eighth a year ago.

While the boys are a lock for a top five finish it would take a big performance from the girls team to do that, likely getting five girls to finish 50 or better.

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