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Rugby cross country rankings rise

By Staff | Sep 6, 2019

Sue Sitter/PCT Dawson Schepp finishes third for the Panthers at Thursday's Velva Invitational meet.

Rugby High School Panther cross country teams saw a boost in their finish times and a rise in their poll rankings last Thursday at the Velva Invitational, held at Star City Golf Course.

Last week’s North Dakota high school coaches’ poll ranked Rugby in first place among girls’ varsity cross country teams, while Rugby’s varsity boys ranked fifth in the poll.

Rugby’s Lady Panthers took the top team time score in the Velva Invitational with 15 points, while contender New Town took second place with 81 points. Rugby’s Panther boys’ varsity runners scored second place after New Town with a total of 64 points.

The Lady Panther varsity runners dominated the top six finish places in their 5000-meter event, with sophomore Quinn Neppl leading the pack by more than a minute.

Neppl said of her 19 minute, 48 second first place finish, “I feel pretty good. It’s definitely something you’ve got to work for. It’s definitely not handed to you.”

Neppl said the Velva event was “our second meet.”

The Panthers will run in eight more meets this season.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Neppl said with a smile, “I don’t feel that great yet; kind of out of shape. I’m getting there.”

Rugby varsity boys took three of the top six times in their 5000-meter race as well, with Dawson Schepp finishing in third place at 17:05.

“I think my finish was better than last week, but I still have things to work on,” Schepp noted. “I still have quite a bit of the season left.”

Schepp said of his Panther teammates, “We have a few pretty strong runners right now.” Schepp said he had high hopes for the Panthers, and given their present performances, “We should be in the top five in the state (at the end of the season), at least.”

Coach Bill Jansen said it was a bit early for the Panthers to set their sights on state, but “the kids looked good today.”

Of the finishers’ comments about feeling “out of shape,” Jansen added with a smile, “Of course, and they should! We really had to pound on them early. They’re working pretty hard. And so, they should feel tired. They should feel gassed. And then, as the year goes on our kids don’t put on a lot of miles in the summer so the trick is to get them to work hard enough to get into real shape, and not get injured.”

“I hope every one of them says, ‘Boy, I’m feeling really tired.'” Jansen added. “Because, hopefully in nine weeks, they won’t be feeling that way. They’ll be ready just to get after it.”

Finishing after Neppl for Rugby in the 5000-meter girls’ event were: Kelly Arnston, second place, 20:50; Brooklyn Bartsch, third, 20:56; Amelia Shepard, fourth, 21:14; Ellie Ducscherer, fifth, 21:21; Kendyl Hager, sixth, 21:22; Ella Jacobson, 13th, 22:00; Rylie Suchor, 14th , 22:24; Mykell Heidlebaugh, 15th, 22:36; Joey Wolf, 16th, 22:44; Mikaylee Livedalen, 20th, 23:12; Mya Geisinger, 25th, 24:09; Kristina Brossart, 26th, 24:39 and Anna Clements, 29th, 24:56. Braelynn Oppen did not finish.

Rugby varsity boys finishing after Shepp’s 17:05 third place time in the 5000-meter were: Kadin Neppl, fourth place, 17:33; Austin Dibble, sixth, 17:37; Riley Odden, 20th, 20:34; Aden Jensen, 31st , 22:10; Robert Dibble, 34th, 22:31; Kristian Fritz, 36th, 23:28 and Trenton Sanford, 42nd, 24:35.

Junior varsity results for the girls’ 3000-meter event were: Kinsey Arnston, second place, 13:05; Jaclyn Duchscherer, fourth, 13:18; Ashlyn Dibble, sixth, 13:43; Haley Mayer, seventh, 14:00; Rylah Hager, 11th, 14:26; Mya McNeff, 12th, 14:31 and Sophie Oppen, 18th, 14:55.

Panther JV girls took the top team spot for their division with 30 points. Panther JV boys finished fifth in their event with 109 team points.

JV varsity boys’ results were: Connor Klein, 13th, 12:35; Maddex Kirchofner, 18th, 14:20 and Ethan Sveet, 23rd, 15:06.

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