Vermillion High's fleet of cross country runners return to Lennox this afternoon at 3 p.m. for their regional meet with both individual and team honors at stake.
The prime goal is to qualify for next week's state cross country meet to be held in Huron Oct. 23, and to do that an individual has to place among the top 20 individuals. The top three teams also advance, each of them taking up to six runners.
The Tanagers were on the same course last week for the Big 8 Conference meet where the girls and boys varsity squads both placed fourth in the five-school competition. Madison captured the girls' title with 22 points, followed by West Central at 25, Lennox at 60, Vermillion at 63 and Harrisburg at 64. On the boys' side Harrisburg won the crown with 20 points, followed by Lennox at 34, Madison at 35, Vermillion at 61 and West Central at 84.
Vermillion sophomore Blair Gilkyson sped out among the leaders early in the girls' varsity 4K event and then ran a strong race to the finish line for a third-place medal. Her time was 15:31.5.
Other Tanagers in the running were sophomore Morgan Hower, 18th in 16:55.5; freshmanm Alyssa Soesbe, 19th in 16:55.9; seventh-grader Cheyenne Mallory, 23rd in 17:42.0; sophomore Jade Fostvedt in 18:17.2, and sophomore Jackie Hulse, 29th in 19:00.3.
Senior Alex Card ran another strong race to finish seventh in the tough boys varsity 5K field, and Robert Osterberg had a good race as well. Both men took more than 20 seconds off their times from the previous week on the same course.
Card's time was 17:38.3. Sophomore Matt Hirsch was 17th in 18:39.1, senior Osterberg 18th in 18:49.0, sophomore Nathan Ford 19th in 19:00.1 and sophomore Colin Olson 27th in 10:08.7.
"As a team we will need to improve if we want to earn a qualifying spot for the state meet," Coach Kelly Fischbach said.
Eighth-grader Jacob Ford was Vermillion's best in the 4K boys junior varsity run, placing 14th in 16:22.4. Other runners were freshman Joe Swanson, 26th in 17:08.0; sophomore Joe Mazour, 28th in 17:15.0, and freshman Philip Erikson, 30th in 17:16.1.
In girls' 4K junior varsity competition senior Jana Bye placed 13th in 19:10.6. Freshman Ashley Sorensen was 14th in 19:20.1, and freshman Cailtin Britten 23rd in 20:22.7.
Fischbach cited strong Vermillion performances in the middle school division where Britney Sweeney was the girls' race champion with Maddie Mockler finishing third, and Owen Swallow placed fourth in the boys' division. Eighth-grader Sweeney's winning time was 12:54.9, and Mockler, a seventh-grader, finished in 13:22.3. Seventh-grader Shelby Glover placed eighth in 14:14.8. Swallow, a seventh grader, was timed in 11:59.5.