Panthers set for Bill Jansen Memorial
This weekend will mark the biggest race the Rugby cross country teams will see until the state meet, for a number of reasons.
The race, the Bill Jansen Memorial, is named in honor of the father of Panthers coach Bill Jansen.
To top it off, it will be held in Valley City, at the site where the state tournament will be run in just more than a month.
There will be huge runner counts for each of the six races, which include a pair of junior high divisions, as Jansen said there’s already 1,200 entrants registered.
“It’s the state course,” Jansen said. “It’s my dad’s memorial. That’s kind of cool. I like to try to go down there and try to have as good of a crew as we can have because I like to do well at my dad’s memorial meet. It’s going to be huge because it’s the state site. There are going to be some big races. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. It’ll give you a preview of the end of the year.”
The Panthers are coming off a weekend where they competed at the Mandan Kiwanis Invite, racing against the best Class A teams in the west.
The Rugby girls placed eighth, and second among Class B schools behind sixth-place Shiloh Christian.
“We had a good chance to see some teams,” Jansen said. “Shiloh Christian is real tough and Killdeer is tough. We’ve got a better picture what is out in the west. We’ve run much more against the east, and we know what’s out there.”
Allison Foster placed 26th with a time of 16 minutes, 9 seconds and Tristin Lunde finished in 42nd in a time of 17:00.
Bailey Nelson (52nd) and seventh-grader Emily Salwey (56th) also finished in the top 60 for Rugby.
“Bailey had a nice race and Emily Salwey ran really well,” Jansen said. “That was nice to see. We’re going to need some help from some of our younger kids.”
Jansen said the Panthers may be getting a bigger contribution from injured runners, which would help their depth.
“We’re starting to get a little healthier,” Jansen said. “Lauren (Christenson) has got some orthotics. When they come and she starts training with them, that’ll help and she can get in some semblance of shape. There’s not a lot of season, so once you run, you don’t know what kind of shape you can get in.”
On the boys side, Tanner Bernhardt continued his strong season. Ranked No. 7 among all Class B runners, Bernhardt finished 11th at Mandan in a field that also included some tough New Town runners.
Jansen said Noah Kraft and Brady Fossum, who ran 51st and 52nd, both had good races despite rain which fell throughout the day.
“The meet last week we were coming off a real tough week of training,” he said. “I didn’t expect us to have the legs we will have at the end of the year. We had a real good opportunity. It was a tough day, it rained the entire time we were down there.
It’s distracting more than anything, trying to stay dry and a little warm. You were wet from beginning to end.”