Cross country: WCA's Toms leads Knights to firstThe senior cross country runner and his brother, Alex, finished first and second
The West Central Area (WCA) boys’ cross country team used a 1-2 finish and a late push from Bryan Starner to take first place at the Breckenridge Invite last Thursday.
Kyle Toms and Alex Toms finished first and second, respectively to set the tone for the Knights. The two brothers then had to wait and watch as their teammates tried to secure the team win.
Neil Hyttsten was the next WCA runner to cross the finish line. He finished 12th. Carson Hunter and Jacob Rokozy each passed three runners in the last half mile to finish 17th and 20th, respectively. The team win came down to Starner, who passed a runner from Hawley-Ulen-Hitterdal (HUH) to finish 25th and secure the team title.
“If Bryan didn’t pass the HUH runner, we would have ended in a tie for team points with HUH,” head coach Jon VanKempen said. “It was as exciting as any sports event I’ve ever watched because I didn’t really know the score towards the finish. I just knew that it would be close. Those guys (Hunter, Rokozy and Starner) gutted it out and made it possible for us to win first place in the team standings.”
Tyler Severace and Luke LaValley were the final racers for the Knights. They finished 27th and 31st, respectively.
The Knight girls settled for a third-place finish. Abby VanKempen finished seventh in the 4K race in 18 minutes.
“She is a good runner and as a 7th grader, she still has that goofiness about her that makes it fun for her teammates, too,” coach VanKempen said.
Tee Rudnitski was next to cross the finish line for the Knights. She finished 13th, while Ashton Blair (14th), Kylee Fernholz (15th) and Holly VanKempen (16th) were not far behind.
“These girls ran much better today than at Morris,” VanKempen said. “Ashton continues to look impressive in her first two races this year and has been a pleasant surprise. Junior Abby Peterson (34th) was also in her first meet. She has been through knee surgery and has been taking it easy. We’ll just have to bring her along slowly and hopefully we can get her back to where she was last year.”