Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Growth year for HSCHS cross-country


October 26, 2017


Lady Bobcat Tahja Hunt pushes ahead while teammates McKenna Bomengen (381) and Olivia Weyer (385) are not far behind Saturday afternoon during the 3A State cross-country meet at the VA Hospital Grounds, in Sheridan.

THERMOPOLIS - The 2017 cross-country season came to an end with the 3A State cross-country in Sheridan Oct. 21 at the VA hospital grounds, and the Hot Springs County High School cross-country team finished the season on a high note.

"Everyone was amazing. Their times were good, ran hard and they were incredible, there wasn't anything to be upset with. It was a great growth season, everybody was learning from everybody. McKenna [Bomengen] was talking with Dayna [Sandberg] about how to run the course. I thought it was just a good year and everyone is going to come back stronger," said HSCHS cross-country coach Stephanie Metz.

Sophomore McKenna Bomengen finished a team-high seventh with a time of 20:39.28, earning her second 3A All-State selection. Teammates Tahja Hunt (21:09.28) and Olivia Weyer (21:18.31) finished just outside the top 10 at 14th and 18th, respectively. Freshman Dayna Sandberg came in 83rd with a time of 25:49.34 and senior Trinity Bowen, running in her second meet of the season, finished with a time of 31:49.12.

Senior Bobcat runner Hudson Roling also just missed out on an All-State selection, finishing 12th with a time of 17:36.94.

"I think it was a very solid performance. I know he was kind of bummed with his time, I think considering the wind and his field, he did amazing," said Metz.

Even though some of her runners fell short of making All-State, Metz liked how they competed against an extremely tough field.

"I thought there were some tough competitors, they were young, fast, and just amazing runners to watch," said Metz.

The state meet was windy which added another wrinkle to the Bobcat and Lady Bobcats strategy for the race.

"No one made a comment toward it. They talked about their run and times and competed throughout it, that was cool.

"We talked about how they're going to break the wind, how they can use the other runners on the course to help and when to start picking up on their pace. We marked out the last 800, 400 and 200, just walking through and how to make it through that last straightaway. It was a pretty long stretch to the finish line, so we talked about how they're going to maintain and not let anyone pass at the end," said Metz.

Now that the 2017 cross-country season is in the books, Metz reflected on the highlights from the season both on and off the course. A favorite memory was the team dinners with both high school and middle teams sharing a meal and bonding as a squad.

"I really enjoyed all of our pasta dinners. Those were probably the best part of the season because we saw our middle school and high school kids together enjoying, laughing, smiling and talking about the next meet. That's when we came together as a team," said Metz.

As for on the course, Bomengen winning two races, one in Ladner and the other during the Bobcat Invite, and Bomengen, Hunt and Weyer finishing first, second and third stood out the most for Metz.

"When we ran, McKenna winning two invitationals [Lander and Thermopolis] that was huge. When we went one, two, three that was the best feeling you could have. That was pretty phenomenal and hard to put into words how awesome that was," said Metz.

The Lady Bobcats will return everyone but Bowen, who stepped up at the 11th hour to give the team fifth runner, in 2018 and with one middle school runner joining their ranks, the team should at the very least have five runners to start the season.

"We only have one eighth-grade girl and maybe we can add a few more next season, but at least we've got our five-person team," said Metz.

Metz has setup an offseason training program for her runners and even given them logs to keep track of the miles run.

"We're going to try to continue some offseason workouts. They're all going to be in basketball but I'd like to, and I've talked to them, about running twice a week in the mornings with me. Just train throughout the year, since I was hired a week before the season started I felt unprepared for the season. So I'd like to focus on the offseason running and training with documenting their miles. They've all got running logs this year and we're going to implement them now that the season over, tracking their miles and be more proactive this offseason," said Metz.

With the offseason workouts, the Lady 'Cats can hit 2018 running and jump back into state championship contention.


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