RHS loses region title on tiebreaker
It doesn’t get any closer than a tie. It doesn’t get any more comfortable when the tie-breaker goes the other way.
For a few minutes, the top-three boys teams at the Class B East Region cross country meet didn’t know who won the title Oct. 18 at Cooperstown Golf Course.
In what Rugby High School coach Bill Jansen described as his team’s “best race of the year,” the outcome had to be discussed before Hillsboro-Central Valley was declared the winner despite a 106-106 tie with RHS.
Unofficial results were announced and H-CV was initially named the team winner followed by Medina-Pingree-Buchanan and Rugby.
Jansen and a coach from H-CV knew the numbers sounded a bit off as Rugby was listed with about 150 points. Gabe Clements, the fourth RHS?finisher, was left off before the mistake was corrected and he was properly listed as 32nd overall.
The top five placers from each team were ironed out, forcing officials to go to the Panthers’ and Burros’ sixth-best runners, respectively, to break the tie. H-CV edged the RHS by a handful of spots.
“It takes one kid beating one kid,” said Jansen, noting that one Medina finisher beating an H-CV runner also could have changed the results.
Jansen said he could relate to the quirky circumstance because of a what-if scenario two years ago. The RHS girls lost top-runner Chandra Yankton to transfer. Yankton led the team to a state title in 2011 before moving. Had she run for RHS the following year, her place at the state meet would have put the Panthers in a tie for first with H-CV. The Panthers would have beat the Burros with a better sixth-place finisher.
The uncertainty and disappointing outcome didn’t keep Jansen down long. His team proved it has a chance to place in the top-three at the state meet in Minot today.
Sickness would have to derail New Town, who has been ahead of the rest of the state all year.
RHS?senior Tanner Bernhardt finished fourth overall in the region meet with a time of 17 minutes, 35 seconds in the 5K. Bernhardt was named one of three outstanding senior athletes in the region.
“It is well deserved,” Jansen said. “I thought he might not get (the honor) because of injuries.”
Nick Thomas, of Medina, and Josh Thompson, of Grafton, joined Bernhardt as outstanding seniors. Thomas won the race in 16:56 and Thompson was third in 17:29. Nick Pederson, of Hatton-Northwood-Thompson, was second in 17:22.
The top-20 runners at the region meet earn all-region status and seniors Nolan Hovland and Brady Fossum joined Bernhardt. Hovland was 10th overall in 18:04 and Fossum was 17th in 18:28.
Jansen said nearly every Panther ran a personal best. Senior Noah Kraft was just one second off his best time of the year. Kraft was fifth on the team and 43rd overall in 19:29. Bernhardt was 16 seconds off his best time of 2014.
“How can you complain?” Jansen said. “You tell kids all you can hope for is to be running your best at the end of the year.”
Girls take second
The RHS girls also took second at the region meet, led by freshman Tristin Lunde and senior Allison Foster.
Lunde was 11th overall with a 4K time of 16:13 and Foster was 14th in 16:28. The Panthers held off third-place Hatton-Northwood-Thompson by scores of 136 to 149. H-CV, the favorite today at state, won in a landslide with 37.
Cailee Peterson, of May-Port-Clifford-Galesburg, won the race in 14:35. The next closest girl – H-CV’s Annika Rotvold – ran 15:01 to lead four Burros in the top 10.
“I thought our top two ran fairly well again,” Jansen said. “I thought we had some younger girls run really well.”
Jansen was referring to seventh-graders Eliana Duchscherer and Taylor Nelson. The girls were fifth and sixth on the team, respectively, with times of 18:17 and 18:22. They finished 41st and 45th, respectively.
“We’re starting to get down where they’re competitive,” Jansen said, “and they’re thinking, ‘I’m starting to get close to 17s.’ “
Lunde and Foster earned all-region honors with their top-20 finishes. Jansen hoped to see Foster named with the other outstanding senior athletes – all three from H-CV.
“I thought I did OK,” Foster said. “It felt good. Obviously, we knew it was close. We knew if we ran well we could get second place and that’s what we did.”
Foster shares Jansen’s hopes of seeing her and Lunde in the top 20 today to earn the all-state honor. Foster was 23rd last year and 25th as a sophomore.
“We’re second in our region, but we’re gonna have to step up and do something we haven’t this year to be top-5 (team),” Jansen said.
The girls race begins at noon followed by the boys at 12:45.
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