2020 hasn’t been everyone’s year, but it’s a year to remember for the Dakota Valley boys cross country team. They finished with 51 points at the region meet in Lennox Oct. 15 qualifying them for the state tournament as a team – Blake Schmiedt, Reed Donaldson, Alex Olsen, Keaten Wright, Alex Messersmith and Avery Bradshaw. This is something that hasn’t been done since 2013 when Graham Bacon, Blake Perryman, Charlie Long, Cole Peterson, Chris Okine and Jon Green were in school.

Medalling and qualifying individually for the state meet were Schmiedt (5th), Donaldson (11th) and Olsen (16th).

Class A is split into five regions for cross country. Each region meet qualifies the top 20 individuals and top 3 teams. From Region 3A, Vermillion took first with 35 points and Lennox second at 45 points. The top runner was Riley Ruhaak from Vermillion, followed by Evan Bartelt of Ethan/Parkston, Andrew Atwood of Beresford and Joe Cross of Elk Point-Jefferson.

“I knew the boys race was going to be tight,” head coach Tiffany Wendling said. “We knew we had been close with Beresford all year. I knew Ethan/Parkston had some young strong runners and we had not seen them all season so those were the two teams we knew we had to get. I could not be more proud of all six runners. We are super excited to be travelling to Rapid City next week.

“Most people wouldn’t think that cross country is a team sport, but when your whole team is counting on one another to place as a team, everybody’s drive to win is 100 times greater leading to incredible performances nobody even dreamed of having,” Wendling said. “I know for a fact I couldn’t have ran as well as I did today with any other team. I think everyone can agree, no matter what sport you play, there’s no better feeling than beating the odds and making it to state. Go DV!”

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.