Tag-team tandems

Teamwork helps Killdeer boys take second; girls tie for third at Killdeer Relays

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Killdeer’s Jaylynn Hicks battles Erin Walcker of Beulah/Hazen during the Killdeer Relays on Aug. 27 at Medicine Hole Golf Course. The Cowboys tied for third in the season-opening relay meet. Inset: Killdeer’s Jace Anderson reaches to tag his tandem partner during the boys race. The duo helped the Cowboys placed second as a team. (Photos by Bryan Gallegos)

Killdeer High School senior Colby Dukart waited not so patiently for his partner during the cross country season-opening Killdeer Relays at Medicine Hole Golf Course.

It was Dukart’s last first race of the season and he wanted to end it with a bang. He was teamed with Stephen Westarp in the unusual cross country event.

“Come on Stephen,” urged Dukart to teammate Stephen Westarp. “Push it in. I think I can make up some time.”

The five cross country teams had three tandems for the relay race. The first runner of the tandem ran a mile and then handed off to the second runner, who then covered the same distance. Each runner ran a total of three miles.

Team scoring was based on the placing of each tandem.

Westarp, whose face was flushed and breathing heavy, struggled to get to the exchange zone. He swiped at Dukart’s outstretched hand, and the senor bolted after his competition.

He didn’t make up any ground, however. But it didn’t matter to the soft-spoken senior. His tandem placed eighth in the event and it helped the Cowboys place second in the team race.

The Cowboys were scheduled to compete in a traditional cross country event on Thursday at the Bowman County Invitational and then at the Hettinger/Scranton meet on Sept. 6.

Dukart can’t wait. He smiled when somebody mentioned the “team race.” It’s something he had never been part of during his prep career because the Cowboys never have enough to score as a team.

Beulah/Hazen won the boys team title with 13 points after placing four teams in the top seven spots. The Cowboys was second with 27 points, followed by Southern McLean with 28. Parshall, despite having the top-placing tandem, was fourth, followed by Stanley.

On the girls side, the Cowboys tied for third in a nip-and-tuck affair that saw the field separated by just 10 points. Southern McLean won with 21 points, while Stanley was second, two points behind. Killdeer and Parshall tied for third with 24 points and Beulah/Hazen was fifth with 31.

“Everybody seemed to enjoy it,” said Killdeer head coach Nathan Horgeshimer said. “Overall, the first meet, it’s kind of nice to get it done; this is where we’re at, this is where others are at.”

Dukart, who has been running cross country since the fourth grade, he likes where his team is at and expects to open some eyes this season.

“This is fun. I look forward to a good year with our team,” he said. “We might surprise some people.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Killdeer seventh-grader Jace Anderson, who was teamed with Dakota Bowen. Anderson kept pace with the bigger, stronger and more seasoned varsity runners in the field. He and Bowen placed fourth with a time of 35 minutes, 28 seconds. Parshall had the top time of 34:15.

After Dukart and Westarp placed eighth in 36:34, Orion Bowen and Garrett Calkins placed 15th with a time of 42:30.

“The boys had a really good race,” Horgeshimer said.

The girls were pretty good, too.

Danielle Benz and Shawnee Hanson led the firth-ranked Cowboys with a fourth-place finish in 42:57. Parshall had the top tandem time of 39:01.

Hannah Benz and Jaylynn Hicks combined for a time of 44:46 for eighth place, just one second behind a Beulah/Hazen team. Katelynn Lane and Corrie Dobitz placed 12th with a time of 47:57.

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