The Vermillion boys’ cross country team was not going to beat out on a tiebreaker at the Region 3A meet last Thursday in Lennox, and the Tanagers did one better to sneak through with the overall team title.
Last year, Vermillion had to settle for third after Beresford won on a tie-breaker by two-tenths of a second. This year, Vermillion scored 27 points to edge past Beresford, who finished with 30 points.
"Every single one of they, all six, did exactly what we needed them to do today," said Vermillion head coach Kelly Fischbach. "The tie breaker guys were ahead."
Beresford’s Alec Atwood was the top individual runner coming in at 15:27, followed by Camden Wulf of Lennox at 15:53 for second and Vermillion’s Justin Sorenson at 15:55 for third. Beresford’s Nico Sanz Cruz finished fourth at 16:08 and Dallas Davis was ninth at 16:47.
"Justin was good and those three right behind him were just as good," Fischbach said.
She was referencing Jakob Dobney (16:27) and Riley Ruhaak (16:31) finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, then Brady Martinez (16:52) coming in at 11th.
"Brady Martinez a month ago had never run a cross country meet before, so for him to finish 11th in this tough, tough region – I can’t say enough," Fischbach said.
Those four runner secured the win for the Tanagers with Jack Freeburg (18:11) coming in at 27th as a potential tiebreaker.
"It’s been a crazy year, but they bought in, just what we needed them to do and they knew where they needed to be in comparison to Lennox and Beresford and going into the season we didn’t think we had a chance to be in distance of Beresford," Fischbach said.
The Tanagers did better than being within distance and beat out the defending region champs.
"We had a little adversity early and they didn’t let it get to them. They just were like, we need to be that much better and they bought in and they knew where they had to be and they worked their tails off."
Other area runners in the top 20 are Dakota Valley’s Joe Graves (13th, 17:20), Bon Homme’s Nate Hall (14th, 17:21), Ethan-Parkston’s Austin Bartelt (15th, 17:23), Beresford’s Matthew Hoffman (16th, 17:26), Andrew Atwood (17th, 17:28) and Brandon Andrews (20th, 17:36) and Elk Point-Jefferson’s Casey Kneip (19th, 17:32).
Ethan-Parkston took the girls title with 33 points, just ahead of Lennox that finished with 34. Beresford came in third with 46 and Vermillion was fifth at 87.
Ali Bainbridge of Lennox comfortable won the individual title finishing well ahead of the rest of the field at 17:55. Lindsey Roth of Ethan-Parkson was second at 18:36 and Taryn Whisler of Vermillion took third at 18:41.
"Taryn went out and did exactly what we expected her to do," Fischbach said. "She finished about the same distance she’s been all year with the girls from Ethan Parkston and Ali from Lennox who just looked super good all season."
Beresford’s Anna Atwood placed fifth in 19:35 and Annalise Buenning of Ethan-Parkston took sixth in 20:09.
Other area top 20 place winner are Ethan Parkston’s Adaya Plastow (11th, 20:32) and Lexy Leischner (14th, 20:40); Beresford’s Jaycee Fischer (12th, 20:37), Jordyn Fischer (13th, 20:39) and Laura Bogue (17th, 20:56); Parker’s Josie Leberman (15th, 20:54); Elk Point-Jefferson’s Heather Stark (16th, 20:56) and Wagner’s Alcista Dion (19th, 21:06).
The class A state cross country meet will be held next Saturday, October 20, at the Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls.