Wagner, Dion shooting for top 2 at state meetWagner High School cross country coach Briana Fiegen has big expectations for the team, as well as its top runner Nick Dion.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
Wagner High School cross country coach Briana Fiegen has big expectations for the team, as well as its top runner Nick Dion.
Fiegen said her goal for today’s Class A state cross country meet is for Wagner to place in the top two as a team, and for Dion to get a top-two finish in the individual standings.
The Class A boys’ race is at 2:30 p.m. today at the Broadland Creek Golf Course in Huron. The girls’ race is set for 1:30 p.m. in Huron.
Last year, Dion was dealing with injuries during the cross country meet and finished the 5,000-meter run in 20 minutes, 24 seconds. That time was good for 115th place at the event.
This season, Dion started the season by winning the Mitchell Invitational with a time of 18:40, a performance that stood out to Fiegen.
“I saw him out in front the whole time,” she said. “I knew he was good, but I had never seen him out front before and I got nervous because I didn’t know if he could keep it up.”
Dion did, and he only improved throughout the remainder of the season.
Despite finishing third in the Region 4A meet with a time of 16:35, Fiegen said a second place finish at state is attainable.
“There were only two people that have beaten him and they were both in our region,” Fiegen said. “And one of them only got him by a second, so I think he can get by him.”
The two runners to beat Dion in the region meet were Xavier Norris and Dillon Miner, both of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, which won the team standings and Fiegen believes will win the state competition.
Norris recorded a time of 16:12 at the region competition Oct. 11 in Chamberlain. Miner’s time of 16:34 narrowly edged Dion.
Ethan/Parkston is another team that Fiegen said might be in the running to beat the Red Raiders.
“We’ve run against Ethan/Parkston a lot and they’ve kind of been our rivals,” she said. “They’ve been beating us and the last meet they beat us by two points. I think if we run our best we can beat them.”
The top two teams are awarded trophies and the third- and fourth-place finishers get plaques.
The top runner for Ethan/Parkston is senior Tyler Hohn. Hohn finished in 31st place at the state cross country meet last year and was the third-place finisher at the Region 3A meet Oct. 12 in Beresford.
The team finished third at the region meet behind Harrisburg and Lennox.
In the girls’ 4,000-meter race, the top area finisher from last year returning to the race is Chamberlain’s Anna Byers. Byers placed 11th as a freshman and is looking to improve on that in her sophomore season.
Chamberlain’s girls’ team finished second in the team standings at the Region 4A meet, trailing only Cheyenne-Eagle Butte. Byers took third place in the individual standings and the Cubs also got a top-10 finish from Madeline Tyrell, who took 10th.
Platte-Geddes’ Reganne Engebretson was the eighth-place finisher at the region meet and took 28th place as an eighth-grader at the state meet last season.
Winner also qualified its girls’ team for the state meet as a team with its third-place finish at the Region 4A meet.
Other area teams to qualify runners for the Class A state cross country meet are Mount Vernon/Plankinton and Gregory.