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Rugby Booster Club Invitational boosts Panther XC confidence

By Sue Sitter - | Oct 10, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT <*t(111,2," ")>First-place girls’ varsity finisher Brooklyn Bartsch gets a hug from her mom, Panther Assistant Coach Jennifer Bartsch at the Rugby Booster Club Invitational Oct.

Cool sunshine with little wind on their home turf made conditions perfect for Panther cross country runners to top personal best times and build confidence Oct. 3 at the Rugby Golf Course.

The Rugby Booster Club Invitational brought together 25 teams from throughout North Dakota to compete in one of the last two races before regionals in Cooperstown and state at Jamestown.

“We wanted to have a big meet today because we’re going to have a bigger meet at regionals and at state, and the kids always get a little anxious and nervous when they have a big meet,” explained Jennifer Bartsch, assistant coach for the Panthers. “So, we were hoping to break some nerves here.”

The Rugby race saw a milestone for Bartsch’s daughter, freshman varsity runner Brooklyn Bartsch.

“Not only did she win this race, but she ran against tough competition,” Bartsch said of Brooklyn.

The younger Bartsch finished the girls’ varsity 5,000-meter event in first place, ahead of Shiloh Christian’s Hannah Westin, who was voted number one in a recent North Dakota coaches’ poll.

“We have not seen (Westin) yet this year,” Jennifer Bartsch said. “We haven’t run against Shiloh this year. This is the first time we’ve run against Shiloh.”

“Brooklyn Bartsch had the best race of her career,” Rugby Coach Bill Jansen said in an email to the Tribune. “Our 2 best 7th graders (Hannah Senechal and Sara Schmaltz) really stepped up and had great races,” he added.

Jansen said Quinn Neppl, a co-op runner from Benson County who often finishes strong, “has been quarantining for the last week and will be able to start practice on Monday, October 12. The girls team as a whole looks ready to go for the end of the season,” he added.

“The boys had their best race of the year and are getting more competitive as a team every meet. I am excited to see what they can do at the end of the season,” Jansen added.

Brooklyn Bartsch said she was “very happy” with her finish at the Rugby Booster Invitational. “I never look at my times. I really should,” she added with a slight laugh.

Although Bartsch said she concentrates on “just finishing” the race, “I know when I’m ahead. I keep up my pace.”

“I like the Rugby Golf Course,” she added. “This was a really good race. I liked staying with Hannah (Westin). She’s a really good runner. She pushed me really hard.”

Austin Dibble, whose top time among Rugby finishers earned him eighth place in the varsity boys’ 5,000-meter race, said, I was really happy with what I did. I PRed by 12 seconds,” he said. “PR means personal best,” Dibble explained. “I ran 12 seconds faster than my personal best time. I think my time in this race was 17:36. Last year, I ran 17:47. So, it’s good to be PRing again. I really liked the weather. It was cool with no wind, so that helps with running.”

“We’ve run here before to practice,” Dibble said of the Rugby Golf Course. “It’s not my favorite course, but it works.”

Where is his favorite course? “Velva,” Dibble answered. “It’s really flat and I’ve run good there. I’m looking forward to regionals and state. Hopefully I can run faster times there, get back on track.”

Austin’s older brother, Robert Dibble, logged the second fastest time for Rugby in the Oct. 4 race. Robert finished in 35th place among 127 runners.

“I’m really proud with my time,” Robert Dibble said. “I feel like I ran hard and I got the results I wanted. It was around 19:30.”

Robert Dibble said he competed “a lot” with his brother in practices, “but it’s tough, because he’s really fast. He’s a really good runner and he’ll do a lot of good stuff this year.”

When asked if he was proud of his younger brother, Robert Dibble answered, “Yes, I am.”

“I’m looking forward to regionals and state,” he added. “I think we’ve got a really good team and we can compete this year.”

Results for the Rugby Booster Club Invitational were:

Varsity Girls 5,000 Meters (Overall team finish 52 points, first place): Brooklyn Bartsch, first place, 19:13; Hannah Senechal, fifth place, 20:44; Sara Schmaltz, eighth place, 20:57; Amelia Shepard, 16th place, 21:16; Ella Jacobson, 22nd place, 21:50; Jaelyn Lunde, 23rd place, 22:12; Kendyl Hager, 24th place, 22:14; Jaclyn Duchscher, 27th place, 22:35; Kinsey Arnston, 31st place, 22:42; Mikaylee Livedalen, 34th place, 22:51; Ashlyn Dibble, 40th place, 23:10; Joey Wolf, 43rd place, 23:15; Rylie Suchor, 60th place, 24:34.

Varsity Boys 5,000 Meters (Overall team finish 198 points, fourth place): Austin Dibble, eighth place, 17:36; Robert Dibble, 35th place, 19:31; Jenner Johnson, 44th place, 19:57; Connor Klein, 54th place, 20:17; Andrew Duchscher, 57th place, 20:24; Riley Odden, 84th place, 21:51; Kristian Fritz, 92nd place, 22:39.

Junior Varsity Girls 3,000 Meters (Overall team finish 23 points, first place):

Mya McNeff, second place, 13:15; Rylah Hager, third place, 13:18; Mya Geisinger, fifth place, 13:34; Brooklyn Hager, sixth place, 13:37; Jesse Wolf, seventh place, 14:06; Sophie Oppen, 10th place, 14:30; Ava Wurgler, 12th place, 14:41; Quinn Walker, 13th place, 14:50; Reese Gullickson, 14th place, 14:55; Haley Mayer, 22nd place, 15:40.

Junior Varsity Boys 3,000 Meters (Overall team finish 178 points, eighth place): Maddex Kirchofner, 17th place, 13:06; Wyatt Oppen, 23rd place, 13:31.

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