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Hills, wind in Harvey no deterrent for Panther cross country runners

By Staff | Oct 10, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT <*t(111,2," ")>Rugby’s Brooklyn Bartsch crosses the finish line first in the varsity girls’ 5,000-meter race at the Harvey Invitational held at the Harvey Golf Course.

Rugby High School’s Panther cross country runners took a short trip to a small meet in Harvey just before competing at home last weekend, but that didn’t mean the day was easy for them.

The wind howled and a few raindrops sprinkled here and there. The Harvey golf course had plenty of hills and steep terrain. One slope on the course made the word “hill” seem insufficient.

“That’s not a hill, that’s really a mountain,” said a coach wearing purple as he pointed it out to one of his runners during warm-ups.

Coach Bill Jansen of Rugby’s Panthers agreed.

“Very windy, rough terrain and the big hill – all things that are not real great for runners,” Jansen said of the day at the Harvey Invitational.

Although the conditions proved a challenge for both the boys’ and girls’ teams, Jansen said he decided to place all runners at the varsity, rather than the JV level.

“All of them ran varsity in Harvey because it was a smaller meet, and when they run at regionals, they will have to run that distance,” Jansen explained after the race.

Jansen’s decision paid off. The Panther girls scored in first place for team points in their race while the Panther boys placed third. The Panther girls dominated the top finish times in their 5,000-meter event as they’d done throughout the season. Two Panther runners in the boys’ 5,000-meter race, brothers Austin and Robert Dibble, finished in the second and 12th spots.

Finishing first and second for the girls were Brooklyn Bartsch and Amelia Shepard. “I don’t know what my time was,” said Shepard, who moments after finishing, recovered quickly and stood by the finish line to shout encouraging words to her fellow runners.

Bartsch also cheered her teammates on, acknowledging with a shy smile that this wasn’t her first number one finish for the season. Was she looking forward to the Rugby Booster Club Invitational Oct. 3?

“I think so,” Bartsch said. “We practiced at the Rugby Golf Course this week (for the meet), but that’s about it,” she said of the Panthers’ preparations for their home event.

Eleven Panthers finished in the top 20 spots in the girls’ varsity race. Rylie Suchor, who finished 18th said, “I’m pretty excited (about the Rugby Booster Invitational) because it’s going to be a big race.”

Austin Dibble said he was happy with his second-place finish in the boys’ event. “I placed where I wanted to be, but I was hoping to be closer to the top guy,” he said of Stanley’s Noah Rolfe.

“Everyone was worried about going to Harvey because of the hills, then the wind just didn’t help at all,” Dibble said. “Luckily, going up the hill, the wind was at our backs.”

Dibble said he looked forward to the Rugby Booster Invitational. “I’ll run in front of the home crowd and face some good competition,” he said.

Jansen said he planned to separate the team into varsity and JV groups for the meet in Rugby “because of the size of the races.”

“Training is about the same as it has been, but more emphasis is being put on staying healthy and avoiding a COVID quarantine,” Jansen added.

Rugby results for the Harvey Invitational were:

Varsity Girls (Overall team finish 19 points, first place): Brooklyn Bartsch, first place, 20:28; Amelia Shepard, second place, 21:01; Ella Jacobson, fourth place, 21:47; Hannah Senechal, fifth place, 21:54; Sara Schmaltz, seventh place, 22:38; Jaelyn Lunde, 12th place, 23:16; Mikaylee Livedalen, 14th place, 23:21; Ashlyn Dibble, 15th place, 23:22; Jaclyn Duchscher, 17th place, 23:42; Rylie Suchor, 18th place, 24:08; Kinsey Arnston, 20th place, 24:23; Kendyl Hager, 23rd place, 24:39; Rylah Hager, 29th place, 25:09; Haley Mayer, 35th place, 25:50; Mya Geisinger, 38th place, 26:05; Brooklyn Hager, 40th place, 26:18; Jesse Wolf, 41st place, 26:44; Sophie Oppen, 44th place, 26:58; Ava Wurgler, 51st place, 29:56.

Varsity Boys (Overall team finish 103 points, third place): Austin Dibble, second place, 18:44; Robert Dibble, 12th place, 20:08; Andrew Duchscher, 27th place, 21:07; Jenner Johnson, 29th place, 21:16; Connor Klein, 33rd place, 21:20; Riley Odden, 41st place, 21:49; Kristian Fritz, 42nd place, 21:54; Maddex Kirchofner, 62nd place, 24:52; Wyatt Oppen, 67th place, 25:08.

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