Ipswich Tribune -

Ipswich girls second at State


October 24, 2018

South Dakota Public Broadcasting photo

IHS Tigers, the State B runners-up, were, left to right, Ashley Ptacek, Emily DeRaad, Abby Olson, Aleah Steger, Kari Kanable, and Tessa Kilber, with Coach Todd Thorson.

The Ipswich Lady Tigers finished second in the girls' State B cross country team standings last Saturday in Sioux Falls for the second year in a row, giving them a 4-win, 2-runners-up record at the B during the six years that the current seniors have been eligible for varsity status.

"The girls have raced against 99 teams at the state meet and their 6-year record is 97-2," says IHS head coach Todd Thorson. "An example would be this year there were 20 girls teams (at the State B), so their record was 18-1. Same with their total record over six years (337-19)."

Twenty girls' teams were indeed entered at this year's B with at least the minimum three runners needed for team standing purposes. And it all boiled down to a Deubrook Area vs. Ipswich battle with last year's champion Newell in third. And not be very far behind! Deubrook won it with 29 team points, followed by Ipswich with 43 and Newell with 44. The individual winner? That would be an eighth-grader Jolie Dugan of Jones County with her 19:12.63 effort, followed by Isabella Brouwer, another eighth-grader representing Andes Central/Dakota Christian, clocked at 19:30.30.

Ipswich's effort was again led by senior Aleah Steger, who finished seventh in the individual standings at 19:58.25. guaranteeing her a Top 25 medal. Tessa Kilber was also a Top 25 medalist in 14th at 20:19.77 and Emily DeRaad was their third scorer in 33rd among the 110 individual runners at 21:04.81. Ashley Ptacek was next at 21:46.21 for 53rd and Kari Kanable, another IHS senior, finished out her career at 22:02.04 for 59th.

Meanwhile, there were 17 varsity boys' teams vying for the State B team bragging rights with 120 individual runners and believe it or not the boys' teams' logjam was even closer at the top. And as some had predicted, James Valley and Warner hooked up in an classic battle for the boys' team bragging rights. And don't leave out Newell. It was in fact so close that both JV and Warner finished with 44 team points. But JVC was awarded the title by tie-breaking criteria. And Newell was a mere point back for third in the boys' team chase with 45, giving it a lock on the Combined Girls/Boys standings with a pair of thirds.

But Ipswich only qualified two runners for the boys' B this year, so wasn't eligible for the team title. And one of those two Tigers, senior Ben Kulesa couldn't compete there due to an ankle injury. Maxwell Geditz, an IHS junior, placed 50th in the boys' standings at 18:34.97. Warner's team bid was fueled by Cody Larson, individually winning it all with a 16:32.14 run. And Thaniel Schroeder of Freeman Academy/Marion was next at 16:35.05. Our Region 4B winner Rhaecine Sam of Wakpala finished third in 16:55.20.

Thorson commented on the Ipswich effort at a Sunday evening welcome/awards presentation program at the School Theater. He thanked people for attending. "What a season," he said. "I couldn't be more proud of this bunch of kids." It all started with dedicated and purposeful summer running, which would pay off with an undefeated girls' team regular-season schedule and then their lone loss only to Deubrook at the state meet. Those girls? "This was one of our all-time great girls' seasons," he explained, starting with a Mobridge meeet. It isn't all that easy to be undefeated in the regular season because more than one meet contained a mixture of Class A and B runners. And a young boys' team was able to win a couple of meets during the regular season as well.

The seniors and their careers have always created a lot of memories for Tiger fans over the years and this year is no exception. Several awards were announced Sunday evening and one of them, the MVP is voted upon by the runners themselves. On the boys' side there turned out to be a tie between Kulesa and Geditz. And Steger was to nobody's surprise the girls' MVP. Kulesa got an opportunity to be a senior leader to younger runners, even after a late-season injury, because of his being the third runner behind seniors Colton Weeldreyer and Wyatt Haux on last year's IHS boys' State B championship team. And Geditz has also accepted a leadership role this season as a junior. And as for Steger, what more you say? According to Thorson, she has been second only to Ipswich legend Macy Heinz in career medals (18).

Steger and Kulesa and the remaining senior, Kanable, who has turned in an unbelievable number of off-season miles will all be missed next year.


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