Panthers place third
Bill Jansen wasn’t expecting great things out of his team when they competed at the 20th Annual Rugby Booster Club Invitational on Oct. 5.
“Our home race, we never seem to run real well at it,” said Jansen, the Panthers head coach.
But Jansen was still pleased with his girls team’s 3rd-place finish despite not garnering some of the individual places it had in past meets.
Rugby (149 points) finished off the pace set by Hillsboro/Central Valley. Killdeer (89) took runner-up honors.
Rugby’s top finishers, Tristin Lunde (16th) and Allison Foster (22nd), had generally been pushing the top 10 in previous meets, but Jansen said the times were still good.
“Not that we ran poorly,” Jansen said. “Tristin Lunde had a really nice race. She’s been running better and better all year. She’s had a season best every race. Ally was right around where she’s been all year. She’s been pretty consistent and was just outside the top 20. (Third place runner) Hannah Christenson had a nice race. That’s her best time of the year.”
Bailey Nelson (35th), Emily Salwey (46th), Karin Selland (50th) and Lauren Christenson (57th) were the next four runners, and Jansen said two of that group will need to jump up for the Panthers to make significant strides in team points.
“We’re a solid 4 (in the state),” he said. “If we can put a race together at state and crack the top 3 at state, that’d be awesome.”
Lauren Christenson was an all-stater last year, but has struggled with injuries extending back to track season last spring.
“Lauren had her best race,” Jansen said. “She was 18 flat. She’s started to look better. Every day that she’s healthy and can train is better for us. She was our top runner and a top 10 finisher last year.”
On the boys’ side, Rugby placed 10th with 299 points. The team was paced by Nolan Hovland’s 43rd-place finish, which was subpar to his recent results.
Brady Fossum (44th), John Mueller (48th) and Noah Kraft (56th) all had good races, according to Jansen.
“I thought the boys ran really well, other than Nolan,” he said. “The other three that ran, John, Brady and Noah all were season bests.”