XC Season Opens in Jamestown

  • August 26, 2019

BOYS RECAP by Gavin Dorsey

The Rider boys kicked off the 2019 cross country season with a convincing win at the Jamestown “Orr”iginals Invitational Saturday.  The team placed six athletes in the top 20 to win the meet, scoring 39 points.

Sophomore Hunter McHenry led the varsity squad, running 17:08 and placing fourth overall.  McHenry is coming off a spectacular track season in which he qualified for the State meet and set the freshman record in the 3200m run.  Last season, McHenry was named the Red River Cross Country “Most Improved Athlete”.

Junior Broden Diederich placed second on the team with a time of 17:24.  The junior captain is the most recent champion of the Tulaby Triathlon and holds a PR of 17:03.  Diederich, who also placed top 10 at Jamestown last year, placed sixth overall.

Sophomore Dameon Zenawick was closely behind Diederich, running 17:31 and placing eighth.  His time was a personal record by 36 seconds, dating back to State last season. Zenawick was one of the top junior varsity runners last season and looks to make a big impact in his second year.

Junior Ryan Prusak and freshman Matt Rongitsch rounded out the top five by placing tenth and eleventh with times of 17:47 and 17:49, respectively.  Senior Gavin Dorsey placed eighteenth, running 18:21.

“It was pretty cool having all of us up there together in the first mile and even a little bit after that,” said McHenry.  “Once we all started to settle in, it got stretched out a little bit, but we were all within a few places of each other.”

Red River was unranked in the weekly “Coaches Poll” for the first time since last preseason, leaving the Riders with something to prove heading into Saturday’s meet.  The “Orr”iginals Invitational gave the team the opportunity to compete against the Jamestown Blue Jays, who were ranked the fifth-best team in North Dakota by coaches statewide.

Diederich said the ranking left the team a little confused.  “I had never even considered the fact that they could be ranked ahead of us.  Every blue jersey on that course was extra motivation to move faster and cut time.”

“The poll definitely gave the team motivation to prove ourselves to the other teams,” said Prusak.  “Conveniently enough, we had a chance to do just that last Saturday. The goal was to send a message.  I think we surprised anyone who didn’t look past the results of State last season.”

The Riders placed six runners in front of Jamestown’s fourth to defeat the Blue Jays by 27 points.  West Fargo Sheyenne placed second at the meet with 49 points.

The varsity boys weren’t the only victorious team Saturday.  Red River’s JV team also placed six in the top 20 to score only 33 points.

Freshman Jonah Dafoe led the pack to place third in the 4k race, followed by fellow freshmen Grant Lelm (fourth), Jake Jenkins (fifth), Zach Kraft (seventh), newcomer Matt Evans (fourteenth), and sophomore Tanner Schiller (fifteenth).

With many athletes ready to break out after summer training and many new athletes as well, this season looks to be an exciting one.  The Riders have a home meet next Thursday as they host the Grand Forks Invite. They will attempt to do what has never been done before by winning the coveted “fork” against their cross-town rivals, Grand Forks Central.

GIRLS RECAP by Kylie Severson

The Riders travelled down to Jamestown to compete in their first meet of the 2019 season. Jamestown had two races for the girls to run, a varsity 5k and junior varsity 4k race. The seven varsity runners kicked things off. Emily Nelson (grade 9) finished first for the girls team with a time of 21:46, finishing 11th overall. Next to cross the finish line for Red River was Campbell Dorsey (grade 10), who finished with a time of 22:22, placing 15th overall. Gracia Larsen-Schmidt (grade 11) was the next varsity runner who completed the race with a time of 22:36 and placed 18th. These three girls finished within the top 2o and were rewarded shirts for their hard work! Claire Lapp (grade 11), Liz Simon (grade 9), Narria Neubert (grade 10) and Kylie Severson (grade 11) finished in this order to complete the varsity girls race. 

With many new middle school girls, we did not know what to expect going into the first race of the season. For this reason, the junior varsity race was very interesting to watch. To top it all off, Morgan Hartze (grade 8) battled for the first place win and ended up 1st with a time of 17:22. Not too far behind Morgan came Rylie Lelm (grade 7), a runner completely new to the sport, finished 4th overall and second for the riders in the JV race with a time of 19:19. Another new runner also placed in the top 20, Payton Bergeron (grade 7) with a time of 20:26 finished 11th place overall and 3rd for the Riders. Cross country veteran Anne Kleven (grade 10)  also pushed her way through the top 20 and ended the race with a time of 20:28 and 13th overall. These girls were also given shirts! The following girls finished in this order: Emerson Byron (grade 7), Zoie Krump (grade 10), Regan Gaukler (grade 8), Eleece Reilly (grade 8), Nala Jennings (grade 8), McKenna Emineth (grade 9), Brooke Dorsey (grade 7), and Angelica Knudsen (grade 10). 

The girls varsity took 3rd place and the girls junior varsity took 1st place to end a very successful first meet of the 2019 season for the riders! We are all very excited for the season and what it may hold for each and every athlete!