School district creates memorable night for girls cross country team

By Jeff Smith

The Hill City Girls Cross Country team in front of their trophies from this season and holding their new jackets. From left to right, Kadyn Comer, Annie Johnson, Lizzy Escalante, Marion Hohn, Karlee Simmons and Janean Hanka.

A monumentally historic event was celebrated on the night of Oct. 24. The Hill City girls cross country team captured their first state title. It was celebrated with rootbeer floats and speeches from cross country head coach Joe Noyes as well as school administration.

The girls also received special jackets provided by the Booster Club. They include their names and will have the Class A state champions for girls cross country recognition. 

The girls beat St. Thomas More and Custer High School who Noyes said didn’t graduate anybody who was on the team last year.

“They brought back the state champion team and the state runner-up team,” Noyes said.

Noyes said the work started last year when the girls received third place. He told some of the returning girls that what they get next year is what they are going to put into it.

Noyes said he gives a speech every Wednesday and the Wednesday before the state meet he said that they shouldn’t listen to doubt.

At that point they had run 3,900 miles, completed 102 workouts,  run 118 long runs and performed in 54 races throughout the season.

“I told them if they have any type of doubt just to look back at their resume throughout the season,” Noyes said. In the last three meets of the year the girls team won conference, regions and then state.

He said teams look to have their peak performances during those meets.

“We really want to represent ourselves, our community and our program at those meets,” Noyes said.

At the regional meet, they had four girls place in the top 10 and six in the top 20.

Earlier in the season the team had a race at Hart Ranch where the state finals were held. Noyes said that not only did they race there but they ran the course three other times before state finals.

“We made sure we knew every inch of that course,” Noyes said.

Senior Marion Hohn spoke about her feelings on receiving the state championship. It was her third year running cross country. She said she wished she had joined cross country earlier. Not only because they might’ve had the team they had this year but also because of how great the other girls are.

Hohn said they have been running together since mid-June this year and they didn’t stop.

She said the team has had so many funny, embarrassing experiences together.

“Sometimes joking happens with each other but we are always supportive,” Hohn said.

With tears in her eyes, Hohn said that she had so many great experiences this year.

“I wouldn’t have wanted my last season to go any other way,” Hohn said.

Noyes said it will be tough to lose a good senior leader like Hohn but everybody else is returning. There is a good group of five sixth grade girls and an eighth grader that will take the program to the next level, Noyes said.

Hill City High School principal Todd Satter said it isn’t what the girls did during the season that made them stand out but what they did during the off-season.

“That is where they rose above the competition. I saw them run. Their cars were in the parking lot all summer long,” Satter said.

He said their hard work and dedication was the difference maker.