Wakonda team repeats as State B cross country champions

Wakonda team repeats as State B cross country champions They did it again! The Wakonda boys' cross country team brought home the State B Team Championship for the second year in a row. The individual champion was a repeat winner as well, Wakonda junior Robert Gregoire.

Despite Mother Nature's leftover puddles from rains of the night before, 118 runners took their place at the line to compete for the State B Boys' Championship. Huron's golf course set the scene for last Saturday's 5,000 meter race.

Coach Tony Skonhovd's Warriors earned this trip by winning their region. Besides Gregoire, the team consisted of senior Eric Skonhovd, junior Tyler Knudson, sophomore Bo Martz, and freshman Chris Nelson. One runner from last year's championship team had to cheer from the sidelines due to an injury earlier in the season, senior, Tyler Moser.

Although Wakonda runners may have been the favorites going into this season, it wasn't a cake walk for the Green Team. The team from last year lost two good seniors in Nick Skonhovd and Jason Holoch. Younger runners would have to step up to meet this challenge. Then when Moser ended up injured late in the season, the Warriors began to get worried.

In class B cross country, the top three runners from each team score points. The lowest score wins. Martz, Wakonda's third runner, knew he would be put to the test as his team depended on him to finish high. When Gregoire blew away the best runners in class B by 10 seconds and then teammate Skonhovd flew through the chute in fourth place, it seemed like a good bet this 2004 goal would be met. Just one more green runner needed to finish toward the top. Wearing not only green but drenched with black mud, Martz finished number nine; clinching the team championship. In fact Wakonda scored 14, and the second place team Eureka scored 33.

Knudson and Nelson finished 116 and 118 as pacesetters, respectively, and experienced their first state running experience and team championship.

Wakonda had only one girl run in the meet, freshman Katie Sokolowski. Even as a freshman, Sokolowski is no rookie as far as state meets go. This was her third state appearance. Sokolowski finished 55th out of 114 participants. She said this wasn't her best performance of the year, but this season was a good one. Sokolowski shaved her personal best almost every new meet. Look for this freshman to be a force to reckon with in years to come.

In those years to come, don't be looking for the green and white with Warriors or Warriorettes on their jerseys, however. Due to the agreement to combine all sports, the teams of Irene and Wakonda will form the unified team Eagles and will compete in Class A in sports. For now, the Warriors will celebrate this win and know they went out on top as champions.

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