Plethora of returning upperclassmen has Midget boys thinking bigWith its top nine finishers from last season’s state meet returning, the Dickinson High boys cross country team’s pack of upperclassmen runners have set lofty goals for themselves.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
With its top nine finishers from last season’s state meet returning, the Dickinson High boys cross country team’s pack of upperclassmen runners have set lofty goals for themselves.
Chief among their aspirations: finishing in the top three of the Class A state meet in October.
Midgets senior Vlad Kutka made no bones about his team’s goals, saying the boys are confident they can finish among the state’s elite this season.
“I don’t really see why not if everybody comes together and does their best, we can definitely get that,” said Kutka, an all-state finisher last season. “We’ve just got to be more motivated and dedicated this year.”
Kutka finished 20th at the state meet last season and leads a group of five seniors, three juniors and a freshman who all have big-race experience.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Dickinson head coach Shawn Leiss said. “We talked about some of the issues we had last year. We talked about values that our team wanted to reach toward and what we wanted to be described by. We also talked about where we ultimately wanted to finish.”
The Midgets return seniors Joseph Sickler, Dallas Zastoupil, Paul Gardner and Bradley Messer. Juniors Gabe Dschak, Austin Mack and Zachary Obrigewitch are also expected to fight for top-five spots on the team at each meet.
The wild card, Leiss said, is freshman Jackson Binstock.
Binstock ran in just two varsity races last season, but was Dickinson’s No. 3 finisher at the state meet with a time of 18 minutes, 4.6 seconds. He had the same time as Sickler and came in about 40 seconds short of Kutka’s all-state pace.
“Jackson has injected a little bit of enthusiasm into our team,” Leiss said. “He’s definitely running with the leaders and he’s adding another degree of competition to our practices.”
Kutka, however, is still the Midgets’ leader — and he’s hoping for a banner year.
“I want to improve my time by a certain amount,” Kutka said. “If I can break 16 (minutes) this year, that’s what I’m looking for. That’ll get me a good finish and I’m happy with whatever I finish.”
Dickinson High boys cross country
Head coach: Shawn Leiss (fifth season)
Last season: 10th in Class A, 5th in West Region.
Returners: Vlad Kutka, Sr. (all-state); Joseph Sickler, Sr.; Dallas Zastoupil, Sr.; Paul Gardner, Sr.; Bradley Messer, Sr.; Austin Mack, Jr.; Zachary Obrigewitch, Jr.; Gabe Dschack, Jr.
Newcomers: Jackson Binstock, Fr.
Losses: Taylor Milner, Josh Kralicek.
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.