Posted 10/26/11 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
It’s hard to imagine that anyone can be really disappointed with a second place finish at State. But for the Watford City girls cross country team, their second place finish at the State Cross Country Meet held on Saturday at the Rose Creek Golf Course in Fargo, was one spot lower than the goal that they had set for themselves.
“It did take some convincing for the girls that a second place team score is not a bad thing,” stated Greg Brown, Wolves head coach who was named the 2011 Class B Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year. “We always have our heart set on winning the State Meet. But sometimes another team puts everything together on the right day. We didn’t miss the championship by much, but Hillsboro put a real nice race together on Saturday and got us.”
While Brown and his girls team was disappointed with their second place finish, the team had an outstanding performance.
Asha Smith, an eighth grader who has been Watford City’s No. 1 runner all season ran her best race of the year as she pushed Garrison’s Robyn Essler all the way to the finish line. Smith turned in a time of 14:54 and finished just two seconds behind Essler.
Smith, along with Kade Ross, who finished in eighth place, was among the top 20 finishers who were named to the All State Team.
Prior to the State Meet, Brown had predicted that both Smith and Ross would be in the top 20 and was confident that the girls team would be in the top three.
Ross finished the race with a time of 15:34.
Also placing for the Watford City girls team was Addison Sundeen, 31st, 16:45; Lea Arndt, 37th, 16:53; Bessie Schmitz, 70th, 17:34; Tara Loomer, 88th, 18:03; and Kara Wold, 137th, 19:23.
On the boys side of the State Meet, Brown was also hopeful that his team would break into the top 10 and the Watford City boys didn’t let him down as they finished in ninth place.
John Meuchel led the way for the Watford City boys team as he took 44th place with a time of 19:02, while Guy Ross and Logan Gumke finished just behind him.
Ross took 47th place with a time of 19:06, while Gumke crossed the finish line in 19:18 in 52nd place.
Also placing for the Watford City boys team was Dustin Kleppen, 67th, 19:41 and Ted Ramage, 104th, 21:07.
“I couldn’t have asked any more from our runners,” stated Brown. “They ran extremely hard at every race throughout the season and pushed themselves to new limits.”
And pushing the runners to improve is what Brown credits for the success of his program.
“We saw all our runners run their personal bests for the season,” says Brown. “And that takes some of the worry off me, as the coach, that the program that we had them on worked well for our runners this year.”
While Brown is proud of the performance of each of his runners at State, he thinks this year’s results could be the catalyst to even better things next year.
“I did sense a disappointment in the kids with their second and ninth place finishes,” states Brown. “Hopefully, that disappointment will create a spark for them to work harder and to place higher next year.”