Posted 10/28/09 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
Greg Brown knew all season long that he had a very special group of girls running cross country for him. And while he was expecting the girls team to place in the top five at the State Cross Country Meet on Saturday, he was wasn’t totally shocked when he had five girls place in the top 25 as the Wolves ran away with the state title.
“Once again, I cannot praise these athletes too much,” states Brown. “They all ran extremely well on Saturday. The girls were exciting to watch on Saturday. They were explosive on their running and we caught a lot of teams off guard.”
Paced by Sibee Jokela, who was a finalist as the Class B Senior Girl Athlete of the Year, Watford City’s girls won their first State title with a score of 82 points, outdistancing Griggs County, which came in second with 109 points, while New Town finished in third with 156 points.
The Wolves had three girls, Jokela, Kade Ross and Stephanie Deutch named to the All-State Team. The All-State Team was comprised of the top 20 place finishers at the State Meet.
Jokela turned in a time of 15:35 to take fifth place individually, while Ross took 10th place with a time of 16:02 and Deutsch finished in 18th place with a time of 16:23.
“Most teams in the state had no idea what we had built for a team out here,” stated Brown. “It was an exciting day to watch. Most of the girls ran personal bests on Saturday because of how hard they worked all season.”
According to Brown, after the first mile of the race, he knew that the girls’ goal of winning State was well within their reach.
“After the first mile, I realized how hard and determined the girls were,” stated Brown. “And at about that point, there was little doubt that we were going to win the championship.”
Rounding out Watford City’s top five runners was Olivia Sundeen and Kristen Stenehjem who placed in the top 25. Sundeen took 24th with a time of 16:47, while Stenehjem came in 25th with a time of 16:48.
Also placing for the girls team was Marti Quale, 38th, 17:12, and Bessie Schmitz, 94th, 18:22.
While the Watford City girls team may have drawn all of the attention at the State Meet, Brown was also very pleased with the way that the boys team ran.
“The boys all ran well also,” stated Brown. “Our goals were a little different for the boys. They worked extremely hard all season and pushed the girls in every practice that we had.”
While the boys team finished in 23rd place with 710 points, Brown says that most of the boys ran their personal bests during the meet.
Leading the way for the boys was Jeremiah Beard who took 101st with a time of 20:33, followed by Logan Gumke with a 138th place finish in a time of 21:56.
Also placing for the Watford City boys team was Riley McCarthy, 144th, 22:13, and Ben Gumke, 150th, 22:35.
“Saturday was a great day for Watford City’s Cross Country,” stated Brown. “Our motto for the day was No Excuses and No Regrets.”
According to Brown, the attitude of his runners all season long was to be positive thinkers and let their minds control their body instead of listening to the body when they were tired.
“I know they were thinking about that during the race, because you could see it on their faces that nobody was going to go by them, and they were going to fight their way up to the next runner,” stated Brown. “The only sad point on Saturday was knowing that three of the girls and one boy will not be back next year due to graduation.”