VHS cross country teams earn first place in Region 3A meet by Jim Prosser The Tanager boys' cross country team scored 15 points to gain first place at the Region 3A meet at Lenkota Country Club in Lennox on Friday, Oct. 12.
The top runner with a clocking of 16:05.11 was Eric Dehner who led the VHS boys' contingent in the 11-team 5,000M division.
Michelle Rasmussen finished in third place with a 15:30 time to pace the Tanager girls to first place in their 11-team 4,000M division.
Other Tanagers placing in the top 10, in the boys' division were: Third Tyler Brown (16:58); fourth Ben Parsons (17:22); seventh Andrew Manning; eighth Justin Manning (18:02); and 10th Craig Powell (18:04).
Vermillion's top 20 finishers in the girls' division were: third Michelle Rasmussen; ninth Morgan Brooks (16:23); 10th Katie Dehner (16:28); 12th Kayla Nelson (16:35); 16th Nicki Mollet (16:50); and 17th Angie Rydell (16:50).
The Tanagers' score of 34 was good for first place. The first runner across the finish line for the girls was Kassy Laber, Parkston, with a 15:19 time.
"Eric took it out hard from the gun and opened up the gap the entire way," said coach Josh Roberts. "This was a great preparation for the type of race he will run at state. Tyler and Ben both got out in front and said 'catch us if you can.' A.J. Manning ran a very smart race and continues to improve.
"All the varsity boys had a good day by putting six in the top 10," he continued. "They are focused on doing well at state, and this makes a statement to everyone that they are for real!"
Roberts said the girls "ran about as expected, which is good. We (the coaches) have high expectations of all our athletes and they are meeting them.
"The key for our girls' victory was our 'pack running.' We need to improve our pack position at state if we want to make the podium," he continued. "But we have supreme confidence in the kid's abilities."
The JV run was coed at 4000M with Vermillion winning both girls' and boys' divisions. Mitch Bierle led all runners with a 14:19 time. Dan Ring and Geng Wang were fourth and fifth with Danny Redlin coming in eighth. Ben Williams 13th and Tom Dendinger 18th.
The girls' best time was recorded by Megan Griffith at 16:47. The other top girls were Theresa Ring, Tera Dehner, Lindsey Isaacson and Sarah Plate. Also competing were Megan Bedard and Penny Decker.
"Mitch ran a great race at the JV level, leading from the gun and winning by 16 seconds," Roberts said. "He will definitely have an impact on our varsity next year."
The SDHAA CC Meet will be conducted at Rapid City on Saturday, Oct. 20.