Miller aims for strong finish in A

HURON — The Miller boys’ cross country team will be looking to continue its tradition of finishing strong during the Class A State Cross Country Meet, which will be held today at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls.

The Rustlers were eighth last season, after winning a title in Class B in 2021 and finishing fifth in Class A in 2020.

“We want to run our best. Placings are relevent to what others runs, so we control what we can control and utilize our competition to better ourselves,” Miller coach Tom McGough said. “My expectations are to be physically and mentally prepared to compete.”

Leading the Rustlers into the state meet will be junior Pierce Baumberger and senior Alex Schumacher, who were seventh and No. 11, respectively, a year ago.

Joining them this season on Miller’s roster will be junior Kellan Hurd, sophomore Isaiah Gortmaker, freshman Jaymin VanDerWerff and eighth-grader Chase Hurd.

“I know they will give it their all,” McGough said. “Most of them were on the 2020 team that place 5th, which was deserving yet a pleasant surprise.

“Our athletes know what it takes, and the level of competition needed to accomplish both team and individual goals,” he said. “I am happy where our team is and looking forward to them competing at the state meet.”

Belle Fourche is the defending Class A boys’ champion, while Hill City was second a year ago and Sioux Falls Christian was third. McGough sees some of those same teams being contenders for the boys’ title this season.

“Sioux Falls Christian looks like the odds-on favorite to win the Class A title. Hill City, Custer, Dakota Valley and Belle Fourche also will be contending for top places,” he said. “Teams vying for the top places will need all six of their runners fulfilling their role.”

With its full compliment of six runners, Clark/Willow Lake will also be competing in the race for the team title. Running for the Cyclones will be senior Taylor Merkel, junior Waylan Olson and sophomores Cooper Pommer, Oliver Reitz, Logan Seefeldt and Damian Severson.

Also looking to finish his high school career strong will be Jeffery Boschee of Sanborn Central/Woonsocket, who was 47th last year.

Sophomore Payton Moore will be the lone runner in the boys’ race for Redfield.

Clark/Willow Lake will be the lone Heartland Area team with enough runners to qualify for a team score in the girls’ portion of the state event.

Running for the Cyclones will be sophomore Cadence Bochek, freshman Hadley Gjerde, eighth-graders Emma Bochek, Kamryn Nesheim and Alexa Schmidt, along with seventh-grader Nevaeh Reitz.

Also competing in the girls’ race will be junior Madeline Nye and sophomore Gabby Werdel of Miller.

“I have no doubt both Madeline and Gabby will have one of their best state meet performances. They have both competed and the state level and run Yankton Trails in Sioux Falls,” McGough said. “I like their mindset and confidence level.”

Sioux Falls Christian is the defending Class A girls’ champion, while Chamberlain was second a year ago.

The Class A boys’ race is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the Class A girls’ race to cap the day at 2:30 p.m.