Cross country ‘off to a good start’

Ron Burtz
“I was very pleased with where we started out,” said cross country coach Karen Karim of her varsity teams in their first outing at the Douglas Early Bird tournament on Friday. 
Senior Mallory Delmont came in second in the 5K race at Box Elder’s Prairie Ridge Golf Course with a time of 18:43.78 and four other Wildcat runners earned medals for finishing in the top 15. 
“They didn’t keep team scores at this first meet, but we we would have won it going away if they had,” said Karim, adding “That’s a nice start.”
Karim says Delmont led most of the way in the race but lost momentum on a hill in the last mile of the course, giving Hill City’s Abby Cutler a chance to pass her. 
Finishing second for the Wildcats and sixth overall was Josie Dvorak with a time of 19:21.80. 
Dvorak, also a senior, was not among the top six at the end of last season but ran “the best race I have ever seen her run,” according to Karim.
The trio of Custer runners also medaling were Kadense Dooley, 10th (19:57.19), Ramsey Karim 11th, (19:57.66) and Nancy Falkenburg Brown, 15th, (20:41.58). 
Eva Studt was the other varsity runner, finishing in 24th place with a time of 21:31.39. Karim says Studt wasnt feeling very well that day and is hoping to do better on the flatter course at Sioux Falls this weekend. 
Karim says the girls made a good showing for the first time out this season but adds “we have a lot of season left. We can’t rest on any laurels at this point in time.”
Preston Drew was the top runner for the boys, placing 10th with a time of 17:18.67. Miles Ellman and Tucker Youngblood also medaled in the top 15, placing 13th and 14th finishing just one second apart. Ellman’s time was 17:56.17 and Youngblood’s was 17:57.41. 
Karim said this was Youngblood’s best time ever and noted that Ellman, who got injured in track last spring and is just getting back into running, “looked pretty good for his first outing as well.”
Pierce Sword finished in 19th place just 30 seconds behind his teammates (18:32.05). 
The only other varsity runner was Sam Jackson who finished 36th with a time 19:43.49. Karim says Jackson got hurt last year and also had not run very many 5Ks in his career.
This Friday Karim takes her varsity runners across the state to participate in the ninth annual Augustana Twilight Cross Country meet, where they will be joined by teammates Jace and Sierra Oesterling. 

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