By Parker Knox
"She is off to a great start to what we hope will be a fantastic career!"
That's what Vermillion cross country coach Kelly Fischbach said after seventh-grader Madisen Lavin capped off an outstanding season by coming within an eyelash of pulling off the ultimate coup – a state championship.
Lavin placed second in the Class "A" girls race at the state meet in Huron Saturday in 15:23, just 2 1/2 seconds behind the state champion, Madison sophomore Emily Hawkes, who broke the tape in 15:20.49.
"She had a great race," Fischbach said of Lavin. "She went out and ran with the leaders right from the gun. She was totally relaxed and in control the whole race."
Vermillion's other runner at Huron, senior Nathan Ford, placed 13th in the boys' race in 17:52.
"This was a great finish and race for Nate," Fischbach said. "He ran a very smart race and finished off a stellar career in cross country at VHS."
Ford finished two slots ahead of this region's champion, Harrisburg sophomore Greyson Zamora, who was 15th in 17:57.02. The state champion was Hot Springs junior Eric Yager in 16:57.72.
Fischbach said she was "extremely proud" of Lavin and Ford. "They have worked hard all year, and it really paid off. I am really excited for the track season to see how they do on the track as well."
The leadership of Ford and fellow seniors Colin Olson, Will Card and Matt Hirsch will be missed by the Tanager program. There are six dedicated senior girls who also are now finished with their cross country careers, including Jade Fostvedt, Chelsea Gilbertson, Morgan Hower, Heidi Osterberg, Alexis Reich and Blair Gilkyson.
"We had some young kids put in some good performances this fall, and we hope to build on those in the years to come," Fischbach said.
The Spearfish girls and the Madison boys won the "A" team titles at the state meet.