Tigers set for state meet

From left: Angelo Medina, Teagan Lien, Will Knippling, Cameron Cutshaw, James Weir and Antwon Flying Hawk. Not pictured: TJ Lien and Alec Pester (alternate).

HURON — Coming off a strong performance at the Eastern South Dakota Conference Meet, the Huron cross country teams will be looking to improve even further during the Class AA State Meet, which will be held on the same course.

The season-ending event will be held today at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls. The AA boys’ race is slated for noon, while the AA girls’ race is at 1:30 p.m.

“It’s supposed to be a nice day, it’s a flat course and we just ran on it for ESD, so I expect the kids to run a personal record or season record,” Huron coach Angie Thomas said. “My goal for the girls’ team is to place above at least six other teams. I’d like to see the boys finish ahead of two other teams.”

The familiarity with the course should be an added bonus, according the Thomas.

“It’s beneficial because there won’t be any surprises for any of the athletes. Even the athletes that only ran a 4K or 3K at ESD had to run at least one entire loop around the course,” she said of just running the course two weeks ago. “Both the boys and girls raced really good at ESD, so I’m hoping that will give them an extra boost of confidence going into the state meet.”

From left: Nora Pester, Josie Vlieger, Lily Meyer, Tatum Peterson, Reva McGaugh, Kinsley Armstrong and Kayeleigh Bowden.

Sophomore Josie Vlieger is the top runner for the Huron girls’ team. She is ranked 57th in the 130-runner field heading into the state meet.

Other runners for the Tigers that could push for a finish in the top half of the field are freshman Lily Meyer and senior Tatum Peterson.

Rounding out the lineup for the Huron girls’ will be senior Kayeleigh Bowden, freshman Nora Pester and eighth-graders Kinsley Armstrong and Reva McGaugh.

The Huron boys’ will face a little stiffer challenge, as they aren’t ranked as high entering the state meet.

Freshman Teagan Lien leads the Tigers heading into the final event.

Also running for Huron will be senior Will Knippling, senior Cameron Cutshaw, junior TJ Lien, junior Angelo Medina, sophomore Antwon Flying Hawk and freshman James Weir.

TJ Lien, who has been a top runner for the Tigers in past years, has been sidelined for much of the season with stress fractures. He returned to the lineup during the ESD meet.

“Our boys have their work cut out for them,” Thomas said.

Rapid City Stevens is the defending Class AA girls’ champion, while the Raiders are also the defending Class AA boys’ champion.