The Vermillion cross country team competed in their first meet of the season at the Beresford Invitational last Friday.

“After the first meet, I can see we put in a lot more work in the off season than we usually do,” said junior Riley Ruhaak. “We usually don’t do to good the first meet and kick it in at the end of the year, but this year we are all right where we need to be for the first meet.”

The Tanagers only had boys compete in the varsity 5k. They placed second as a team behind Sioux Falls Christian.

“Something we need to improve is that we have to be more in control and act like we have a chance to win a state title,” said Ruhaak. “We have to get out there and lead the race and get on that podium to show people that were winners.”

Junior Jakob Dobney was the top runner for Vermillion. He finished 11th in a time of 18 minutes, 0.26 seconds.

Ruhaak immediately followed as he crossed the line in 18:00.77.

Senior Brady Martinez was also in the flock of Tanagers. Martinez placed 13th in 18:01.53.

Freshman Jack Freeburg finished the 5k in 18:50.16 (30th). Eighth-grader Henry Anderson came in at 19:28.69 (42nd), senior Nate Bohnsack 20:39.80 (61st), freshman Jack Vitt 21:36.48 (69th), and senior Evan Rasmussen 25:08.44 (84th).

“Coming into the season, we knew we wanted to take the team placing one step further this year and try to win it all,” said Ruhaak. “We all know we can run a lot faster, and we all have confidence that we can win a state title this year. Individually, I want to get in the top five and know I can, but there’s a thought in the back of my head saying I can win it all.”

The Tanagers will run at the Augustana Twilight this Friday at 6 p.m. Their next race will be Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. for the Canton Invitational.

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