BERESFORD — A trio of Tanagers within a second-and-a-half of each other helped Vermillion earn a runner-up finish in the varsity boys’ race of the Beresford Invitational cross country meet, held Friday at The Bridges Golf Course.
Sioux Falls Christian beat out the Tanagers 25-46 for top honors, followed by Luverne, Minnesota (81), Lennox (96) and Beresford (99).
Luverne senior Brayden Tofteland won the boys’ race, covering the 5,000-meter course in 16:49.13. Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Ryan Schroeder (17:01.52) was third, followed by Martin County West’s (Minnesota) Jake Lewis (17:12.28).
Girls’ honors went to Luverne with 39 points, beating out Lennox (59) and Sioux Falls Christian (74). Martin County West (76) and Beresford (77) rounded out the top five.
Lennox freshman Ali Bainbridge won the girls’ race in 18:51.95, beating out defending champion Tenley Nelson of Luverne (18:59.73). Gayville-Volin’s Maddy Fairley (19:02.34) was third, followed by Ethan-Parkston’s Lindsey Roth (20:03.09).
For the Vermillion boys, the race plan was simple.
“They wanted to run together, as a pack,” said Vermillion head coach Kelly Fischback. “This was a meet to see where they stack up: where they are at against other teams, and where they are at against time.
“Overall, I was super happy.”
Juniors Jakob Dobney (11th), Riley Ruhaak (12th) and Brady Martinez (13th) led the way, finishing with just 1.27 seconds between Dobney and Martinez. Freshman Jack Freeburg was the team’s fourth runner, placing 30th overall. Eighth grader Henry Anderson (42nd), senior Nate Bohnsack (61st), freshman Jack Vitt (69th) and senior Evan Rasmussen (84th) rounded out the Tanagers’ squad.
“We probably need to get out a little quicker, especially Jakob and Riley,” Fischback said. “Jack Freeburg is coming off an injury, so we look for him to improve. Henry Anderson, our five-guy, is just an eighth grader.
“Our four and five stepped up well in a big meet.”
Finishing behind only Dakota XII Conference rival Sioux Falls Christian — and ahead of conference and Region 4A rival Lennox — in the first meet of the season is a good place to start, Fischback said.
“They’ve got pretty high goals,” she said. “We’re going to see Lennox and Sioux Falls Christian four, five, six more times during the season. They want to do well, and we’re hoping for good things.”
Bon Homme’s Nate Hall was the first sophomore across the line in a veteran-dominated boys’ race, placing sixth in 17:33.80. He came into the day just “looking to run my fastest time,” after placing 40th in the event a season ago.
“I wasn’t sure how fast I’d be. I was just going to give it a go,” he said. “It ended up working out.”
The girls’ varsity race saw the same top-four as a year ago, with Bainbridge and Nelson flipping spots. Fairley finished third for a second straight year, with Roth placing fourth again this season. Those four runners all improved their times by an average of over 30 seconds, with Fairley showing the biggest improvement at 47.65 seconds.
“This was a good meet to start at, with some of the best competition I’ll see all season,” Fairley said.
Fairley trained with Bainbridge for much of the summer, after recovering from a hamstring injury right after track season.
“I felt really good about the race,” Fairley said. “I didn’t kick soon enough. I should have kicked at about the half-mile mark.”
Sioux Falls Lincoln ran away with the JV girls’ title, 11 to 53 over West Central. Ethan-Parkston (71) was third. Lincoln’s Leni Olson won the 4,000-meter race in 17:14.45, followed by Centerville’s Lillie Eide (17:20.76).
Lincoln also won JV boys’ honors, 14 to 39 over Sioux Falls Christian. Ethan-Parkston (81) was fourth. West Central’s Jacob Krempges won the 4,000-meter race in 14:31.06.
The Sioux Falls Christian girls won the junior high title with 22 points, followed by Tea Area (71) and Gayville-Volin (72). Luverne’s Jenna DeBates won the 3,000-meter race in 12:01.13.
The junior high boys’ title went to Sioux Falls Christian, 27 to 70 over Luverne. Dakota Valley finished fifth at 117. Sioux Falls Christian’s Maksim Strizheus won in 11:00.62, with Beresford’s Scott Ridley (11:27.78) in fourth.
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TEAM SCORES: Sioux Falls Christian 25, Vermillion 46, Luverne 81, Lennox 96, Beresford 99, Martin County West 99, Tea Area 111, Dakota Valley 112, Burke 136, Elk Point-Jefferson 161, Bon Homme 169
TOP 20: 1, Brayden Tofteland, Luverne 16:49.13; 2, Ryan Schroeder, Lincoln 17:01.52; 3, Jake Lewis, Martin County West 17:12.28; 3, Isaac Engbers, S.F. Christian 17:18.52; 5, Rob Baker, Lincoln 17:22.03; 6, Nate Hall, Bon Homme 17:33.80; 7, Daniel Colby, S.F. Christian 17:36.10; 8, Titus Roesler, Freeman Academy-Marion 17:42.00; 9, Zach Miller, Lincoln 17:53.21; 10, Derrek VanderLeest, S.F. Christian 17:55.39; 11, Jakob Dobney, Vermillion 18:00.26; 12, Riley Ruhaak, Vermillion 18:00.77; 13, Brady Martinez, Vermilion 18:01.53; 14, Joseph Grassmid, Menno 18:02.21; 15, Andrew Atwood, Beresford 18:03.87; 16, Nathan Koole, S.F. Christian 18:09.74; 17, Jackson Liewer, Burke 18:09.79; 18, Creighton Watley, S.F. Christian 18:11.35; 19, Preston Bohl, Garretson 18:13.80; 20, Isaac Davelaar, S.F. Christian 18:17.55
TEAM SCORES: Luverne 39, Lennox 59, Sioux Falls Christian 74, Martin County West 76, Beresford 77, Canton 79, Tea Area 84, Burke 114, Elk Point-Jefferson 138, Bon Homme 195
TOP 20: 1, Ali Bainbridge, Lennox 18:51.95; 2, Tenley Nelson, Luverne 18:59.73; 3, Madison Fairley, Gayville-Volin 19:02.34; 4, Lindsey Roth, Ethan-Parkston 20:03.09; 5, Emily Plucker, Lennox 20:09.87; 6, Marissa Whitehead, Martin County West 20:30.41; 7, Ana Wilkison, Baltic 20:34.37; 8, Corinne Braun, Canton 20:34.83; 9, Regan Feit, Luverne 20:37.76; 10, Madison Vander Haar, S.F. Christian 20:41.16; 11, Hallie Person, Burke 20:43.22; 12, Katie Hartke, Martin County West 20:15.58; 13, Jada Koerner, Freeman Academy-Marion 20:55.99; 14, Haidyn West, Tea Area 20:58.70; 15, Aubrey Kenyon, Tea Area 20:59.31; 16, Taryn Whisler, S.F. Christian 21:01.81; 17, Brynn Oakland, Canton 21:12.63; 18, Anna Atwood, Beresford 21:15.38; 19, Elizabeth Wagner, Luverne 21:16.14; 20, Brooklynn VerSteeg, Luverne 21:21.54.