Dickinson girls setting sights high after tough finish to 2010 seasonThe end of the 2010 season was disappointing for the Dickinson High girls cross country team.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The end of the 2010 season was disappointing for the Dickinson High girls cross country team.
An eighth-place finish at the Class A state meet wasn’t exactly what head coach Shawn Leiss and the Midgets were hoping for coming into the year.
“When we got done, we were a little bit dissatisfied and felt we could have finished a little bit better,” Leiss said. “On the girls side, we’ll come back and we feel like we definitely want to have a top-five finish.”
With the amount and quality of returning runners the team has back this fall, that expectation is valid.
The Midgets return all-state senior Whitney Schatz and seven of its top 10 finishers from last season. They’ve even added three girls who are strong distance runners on the track but are in cross country for the first time.
“These girls, they all work really hard and they all seem to work together,” Schatz said. “They’re really wanting to do good at state. It’s a big thought in our heads.”
Schatz finished eighth in the state meet last October with a time of 15 minutes, 19.9 seconds.
After that, however, the Midgets’ finishes dropped off significantly.
Morgan Kuntz came in 41st, Meleah Leiss was 56th, Kelli Pavlicek was 60th and Alyssa Hanson was 88th.
All of those girls are back this season and they’re all underclassmen. Leiss is a junior, Kuntz and Hanson are sophomores and Pavlicek is a freshman.
Pavlicek’s twin sister, Katie and Shannon Stockert, are new to the team. Both were strong distance runners for Dickinson Trinity during the spring.
Freshman Emily Tyrell, who comes to the team through it’s co-op with Richardton-Taylor, also adds depth.
“We’re coming back with some good experience and a nice amount of talent,” Leiss said. “We’re just going to go ahead and work the plan.”
Schatz, considered one of the state’s top cross country runners coming into the season, said there is pressure to keep running at that level.
However, she is confident she can — if only for the sake of her team.
“There’s a lot of pressure, but I don’t want to be too stressed out about it,” Schatz said. “I’m sure I won’t be up there by myself and I hope I won’t be. I hope they can see they can be up there with me and not be afraid to work to get to that point.”
Dickinson High girls cross country
Head coach: Shawn Leiss (fifth season)
Last season: 8th in Class A, 3rd in West Region.
Returners: Whitney Schatz, Sr. (all-state); Morgan Kuntz, So.; Meleah Leiss, Jr.; Kelli Pavlicek, So., Alyssa Hanson, So.
Newcomers: Katie Pavlicek, Fr.; Shannon Stockert, Soph.; Emily Tyrell, Fr.
Losses: Haley Anderson, Ally Hoffman, Stormie Sickler.
Season opener: Jamestown Invitational at Hillcrest Golf Course, 10 a.m. Friday.
Home meet: Becki Wells Invitational at Heart River Golf Course, 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27.