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Cross Country

Nesheim, Foltz win races, Roncalli has strong showing at invite

Clark-Willow Lake’s Kamryn Nesheim runs in the lead during the Roncalli Cross Country Invite Thursday at Lee Park Golf Course. Photo by John Davis taken 9/14/2023

Runners from Clark-Willow Lake and Tri-State won individual titles, while Aberdeen Roncalli placed four runners in the top ten at the Roncalli Invitational Cross County Meet at Lee Park Golf Course on Thursday.

Clark-Willow Lake’s Kamryn Nesheim captured the girls’ individual title with a time of 20:08.52.

Nesheim said it was all about getting a good start.

“I really had to start off fast and get that first mile down, and after that you just coast the whole day,” Nesheim said.

Nesheim jumped out to an early advantage and was able to maintain the lead throughout the race by encouraging herself.

“You’ve got to keep a steady pace,” Nesheim said. “You’ve got to tell yourself to keep going.”

Nesheim said the meet will prepare her for the Cyclones’ next action, which is Monday at the Deuel Invite.

“Our next meet will be some good competition, so we’ll have to work for that,” Nesheim said.

Deuel’s Jaycee Hourigan finished in second place (20:39.83), while Waubay-Summit’s Madison Zirbel (20:54.66) finished in third place. Roncalli’s Paige Schmidt was fourth, and Clark-Willow Lake’s Hadley Gjerde rounded out the top five (21:46.91).

The Cyclones also won the team title with 11 points, five better than Roncalli. Deuel and Great Plains Lutheran tied for the boys’ team championship.

Tri-State’s Kaleb Foltz won the boys’ race with a time of 17:33.69. Foltz said the win took a lot of hard work to achieve.

“Definitely not my best time, but it’s still early in the season,” Foltz said. “This is only my second 5K and I’m just working up to it, but definitely tough.”

Tri-State’s Kaleb Foltz, left, runs in the lead with Lisbon’s Lincoln Adair, right, during the Roncalli Cross Country Invite Thursday at Lee Park Golf Course. Foltz went on to win the race with Adair finishing second. Photo by John Davis taken 9/14/2023

Foltz and Lincoln Adair of Lisbon, N.D., were shoulder-to-shoulder for much of the race, which forced Foltz to think about his strategy for much of the race.

“I knew the race was kind of a right way track, so I got the inside lane on the right, and so I got an advantage there,” Foltz said. “Uphill I kind of tried to push him because I could tell he was breathing a little heavier than me.”

As Foltz and Adair entered the final curve, Foltz pulled ahead for good, capturing the win.

“I always just have that switch that flips in me and I kind of just get that competitive edge,” Foltz said. “It’s almost a second wind. It’s always fun.”

Foltz, a Rosholt native, finished with a personal record, and said it meant a lot to represent his hometown and the Tri-State co-op at the meet.

“There’s some great names up on that PR board, and I was just hoping to get up there sometime. Definitely a good school,” Foltz said.

Roncalli senior Sarah Schmidt led the Cavaliers with that fourth-place finish in a time of 21:45.28, while Hazel Kannegieter finished sixth (22:10.59) and Paige Schmidt finished ninth (22:26.67). Addison Cassady finished just outside the top ten with an 11th-place finish.

Members of the Aberdeen Roncalli girls cross country team take off at the start of the Roncalli Cross Country Invite Thursday at Lee Park Golf Course. Photo by John Davis taken 9/14/2023

Cavaliers coach Brady Lesnar was pleased with how well each girl performed.

“I thought Sarah ran a really good race today. It was fun watching her compete,” Lesnar said. “Hazel and Paige and Addie all ran really well.”

Matthew Peterson was the highest Roncalli finisher on the boys’ side, placing eighth with a time of 19:25.33. Paul Gutenkauf finished 13th , while Ben Bradley placed 28th . Beau Price finished 56th.

Lesnar said the team is becoming more complete as the season progresses.

“We’re getting more complete in our races, so we’re at a good place,” Lesnar said. “We just want to keep improving.”

For Aberdeen Christian, eighth-grader Joseph Richards led the Knights with a 24th place finish, while Elijah Alvear placed 30th. The Knights’ lone female runner, Lucy Jones, placed 38th.

Aberdeen Christian’s Joseph Richards, left, competes in the Roncalli Cross Country Invite Thursday at Lee Park Golf Course. Photo by John Davis taken 9/14/2023

Christian coach Adam Franken felt his team ran well, and was thankful that Roncalli hosted the meet.

“It’s a great meet. They do a good job of hosting it,” Franken said. “It’s great to see the area schools come together and just compete.”

Franken said his team is using the early season meets to prepare for the conference, region, and state meets later this fall.

“We’re gearing up towards the conference and regions, working on getting some of those runners in shape and used to that varsity race and pace to hopefully qualify for state,” Franken said.

The Knights’ next meet will be Monday, Sept. 25 at the Groton Invitational. Franken, a former Groton cross country coach, is excited to be back in Groton for the meet.

“It’ll be fun to go back and see that meet and the other kids run, and watch the Aberdeen Christian kids compete there,” Franken said.

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