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Panther XC teams see ‘best races of the season’ in Cavalier

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 26, 2020

Submitted Photo The Rugby Panther girls pose for a group photo after their race in Cavalier Sept. 17.

Two Rugby High School cross country runners “had their best races of the season” in Cavalier at the Jason Shephard Invitational Sept. 17, according to their coach, Bill Jansen.

Panther Brooklyn Bartsch finished the girls’ 5,000-meter event in 19 minutes, 58 seconds, placing first. Austin Dibble’s finish time of 18:06 in the boys’ 5,000 meter earned him first place for the Panthers.

Rugby’s girls dominated their race in usual fashion, with a team score of 32, 57 points away from second-place Hatton/Northwood/Larimore. Rugby High’s boys placed third as a team, behind Grafton and Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg.

In an email to the Tribune, Coach Bill Jansen said the event took place at the Cavalier Country Club “on a beautiful course which was a little longer than 5,000 meters.”

“The weather was cooler with a light breeze, so it was perfect for cross country,” Jansen said. “Both teams looked as good as they have all season.”

Jansen added, “We ran everyone in the varsity race, so they all got to run a 5K. For some, it was their first 5K of their season or their career, and everyone handled it well.”

“The girls’ team looked very strong again,” Jansen noted. “Amelia Shepard, 9th grade, and Quinn Neppl, 11th grade, are making progress toward the front of the pack, with Brooklyn (Bartsch) giving us a very strong top three.”

Jansen said two seventh graders, Hannah Senechal and Sara Schmaltz, finished with times to rival varsity runners.

“We had eight runners in the top 17 of the race,” Jansen said of the girls.

Jansen said three runners for the girls’ team didn’t participate in the Cavalier race, “one of which was Ella Jacobson, a ninth grader, who is normally in our top five. Jansen said the missing runners were of a similar caliber to the top finishers. “So that tells you it’s not just our top three that are strong.”

Jansen said eighth grader Jenner Johnson was the second runner to finish the race for Rugby. “He had a great race and is showing great improvement. The rest of the boys are improving each race.”

Jansen said the Panthers looked forward to their Sept. 22 race in Beulah at the Beulah/Hazen Invitational. “(The race) will give a good picture of how we stack up against some of the best runners in the west,” he said.

Meet results for the Jason Shephard Invitational were:

Varsity Girls 5,000 Meters: Brookly Bartsch, first place, 19:58; Amelia Shepard, fourth place, 20:52; Quinn Neppl, fifth place, 21:00; Hannah Senechal, ninth place, 22:06; Sara Schmaltz, 13th place, 22:51; Jaclyn Duchscher, 15th place, 23:03; Kendyl Hager, 16th place, 23:05; Ashlyn Dibble, 17th place, 23:13; Mikaylee Livedalen, 27th place, 23:47; Kinsey Arnston, 28th place, 23:48; Rylie Suchor, 31st place, 24:10; Rylah Hager, 39th place, 25:00; Mya Geisinger, 50th place, 25:51; Mya McNeff, 51st place, 25:52; Quinn Walker, 57th place, 26:30; Jesse Wolf, 59th place, 26:35; Sophie Oppen, 60th place, 26:39; Reese Gullickson, 63rd place, 27:50; Ava Wurgler, 70th place, 31:01.

Varsity Boys 5,000 Meters: Austin Dibble, first place, 18:06; Jenner Johnson, 17th place, 20:35; Connor Klein, 22nd place, 21:02; Andrew Duchscher, 24th place, 21:14; Kristian Fritz, 29th place, 21:40; Riley Odden, 34th place, 22:43; Maddex Kirchofner, 43rd place, 24:04; Wyatt Oppen, 47th place, 25:43.

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