Killdeer Cross Country team Gains Confidence

Last week marked the first time of the season that conditions hinged on the cold side this season.

By Jarann Johnson

For The DC Herald

When the team headed up to Rugby for a large Class B meet the weather was in the mid 40s and windy.

The cold conditions produced a strong day for the Killdeer Cowboys cross-country program. The girls finished second in a 23 team meet and the boys finished 10th overall.

The girls were lead by a great performance from their No. 1 and No. 2 runners. Shawnee Hansen finished 14th overall with a time of 16 minutes and 41.94 seconds.

Hansen was joined in the top 20 by fellow teammate Amber Kukla. Kukla was roughly one second behind Hansen and finished 15th overall (16:42:78).

The girls couldn’t edge out any other top 20 runners but they did a great job of closing out their No.3, No. 4 and No. 5 spots with one pack. The trio finished 30th-31st- 32nd and was led by Trae Murray.

Murray’s time was 17:29.04, then Sydney Andersen followed at 17:32.75 and Dani Benz closed the race out at 17:33.28.

The only team that beat the Killdeer girls at the meet was top-ranked Central Valley-Hillsboro. Topping Central Valley- Hillsboro was almost impossible because the team produced a 1-2-3 finish.

Gracie Wright led the finish recording a time of 15:10.80.

Even though Killdeer didn’t win the race it was a big confidence boost for the team. Head Coach Nathan Horgeshimer talked about the meet.

“I think it was a huge confidence boost to race like that. Practice has gone well, we’ve had kids on different days have really good races but it was nice to have all of my girls have a great day,” Horgeshimer said.

“It was good to have a confidence boost today. All the girls were pretty excited when they saw how well they did as a team and just how much time we started dropping in the last week or two.”

After talking about the team gaining confidence Horgeshimer talked about the team’s state heading into this week’s West Region meet.

“We’ve been waiting for Shawnee to have a breakout race and get back to where she could be. Amber has been consistently awesome and competing well. Dani and Trae are making their way back up from injury problems this year and getting to where they need to be,” Horgeshimer said.

The boys tenth place finish was led by Dakota Bowen. Bowen took 55th (20:15.05) and Orion followed in the No. 2 sport with a 65th overall finish (20:34.25).

Colby Dukart and Garrett Calkins both finished under the 22-minute barrier. Dukart as 72nd (20:34.25) and Calkins was 77th (21:31.01).

Ryan Zastoupil didn’t run in the race because of a knee injury. Horgeshimer said the coaching staff will weigh Zastoupil’s health before deciding to run him in the varsity 5K at the West Region meet.

Overall Horgeshimer liked what he saw from the boys.

“They ran very, very well. They’ve been continuously improving and they’re young. I think we’ve got Colby, our one junior, and then the rest are all freshman and sophomores. Those guys have improved a lot sense the first couple weeks of the season. So it’ll be fun to see if can get some guys under 20 minutes.”

As the season transfers into the cold conditions Horgeshimer said he’s not worried about his team and added that he believes his team is excited for colder conditions.

“We like the cold and I know we’ve had a lot of 80 and 90 degree days this year. I think the kids are starting to get sick of it. I know a couple of them mentioned, ‘when is it going to start dropping so we can start running fast?’ The girls much, much prefer cold weather. They’d rather see a 45 or 50 degree day, I think any day during cross-country season.”

Killdeer will be running in the West Region meet. Central Valley-Hillsboro is an East Region team so the Cowboys will be trying to win know that they’ve found some confidence. The meet will be hosted by Standing Rock on Saturday.

Rugby Meet

Girls – 2nd out of 26

No. 1 runner – Shawnee Hansen 14th 16:41.94

No. 2 runner – Amber Kukla 15th 16:42.78

No. 3 runner – Trae Murray 30th 17:29.04

No. 4 runner – Sydney Andersen 31st 17:32.75

No. 5 runner – Dani Benz 32nd 17:33.28

Other runners; Hannah Kisse (17:56.82), Jaylynn Hicks (18:36.37), Hannah Benz (18:40.12), Corrie Dobitz (19:14.62).

Boys – 10th out of 23

No. 1 runner – Dakota Bowen 55th (20:15.25)

No. 2 runner – Orion Bowen 65th (20:34.25)

No. 3 runner – Colby Dukart 73rd (21:15.51)

No. 4 runner – Garrett Calkins 77th (21:31.01)

No. 5 runner – Ghost runner 108th

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