After a productive summer of training, Belle Fourche and Newell High School cross country teams open the 2019 season Friday.
Belle Fourche competes at the Newcastle, Wyo., Invitational at Mallo Camp, while Newell is at the Douglas Invitatonal at Box Elder.
Returning lettermen for the Belle Fourche boys are: Sophomores: Cole Hockenbary and Wyatt Keegan; Freshmen: Sawyer Clarkson, Devin Nowowiejski and Nic Lambert. Clarkson posted seventh place at last year's State A meet. He finished 14th at the 2017 meet. Hockenbary was a state qualifier in 2017.
Newcomers on the boys squad include: Senior: Ethan Jones; Junior: Isaac McKenney; Freshman: Dustin Kolb; Eighth-graders: Harley Rivera and Jordan Sandoval; Seventh-grader: Darian Pesicka.
Chris Riley returns as the Broncs' head coach. "Our numbers are up," said Riley. "We had 23 last year. From grades six to 12 we have about 40 kids this year. We are trying to get down the basic fundamentals."
Lady Broncs returning letterwearers are: Junior: Hayley Wilbur; Ninth-grader: Alanah Pomrenke; Eighth-graders: Allison Hayes and Anika Main. Wilbur was a State qualifier in 2017. Hayes competed at State last year as a seventh-grader.
Newcomers joining the varsity squad are Seniors: Megen Keegan and Harley Fischer; Ninth-grader: Ayse Hockenbary; Eighth-graders: Ava Allen, Addy Muhm and Lorelei Seaman.
"The girls will have the most solid complete team we've had since I've been coach at Belle Fourche," said Riley.
Belle Fourche hosts the Black Hills Conference meet October 10 at Belle Fourche Golf Course. Pine Ridge is the host site for the Region 5A meet October 17. The top three teams and top 20 individuals at Region advance to the State A meet at Broadland Creek Golf Course in Huron October 26.
Coach Riley listed Custer boys and girls as the BHC, Region and State A favorites.
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Newell returns four girls and two boys from last year's teams. Lady Irrigator returners are: Senior: Austin Alexander; Junior: Lexa Burtzlaff; Ninth-grader: Stacy Mahaffy; Eighth-grader: Rachel Erk. Ninth-grader Sarah Kirby is a promising newcomer.
"We have high hopes for the girls, looking to win the Little Moreau Conference and Region and compete at State B," said coach Kyle Sanderson.
"Our experience is our strength. Austin has competed at five State B meets, Lexa at three, and Rachel and Stacy one each.
Returning Newell boys lettermen include: Senior: Nathaniel Kirby (four-year State qualifier) and Sophomore: Garrett Winkler (two-year State qualifier).
Junior Mick King and Freshman Tayten Smeenk are promising prospects.
Ben Parrow graduated.
Lemmon hosts the LMC meet September 30. Philip hosts the Region 5B meet October 16. The top three teams and top 20 individual runners at Region qualify for the State B meet in Huron October 26.
Coach Sanderson listed Newell girls as the conference and Region favorite. "Timber Lake and Dupree have good girls teams. Bison returns some good boys runners. We hope to be up there."
"Wall girls will compete with us at Region," Sanderson said. He listed Deubrook Area and Ipswich as the Class B girls favorites.
"White River won the Region 5B boys title last year. I look for White River, Bison and Newell to be the top three teams. State B is wide open. Warner and James Valley Christian (defending champion) will be tough. If our boys run well, anything can happen."