Home Stretch: DHS cross country concludes season at state meet
Coach Greg Jung doesn't believe in tapering off.
As most long distance runners train for a race, they begin to taper off their distances a week or more before their event.
As the Dickinson High cross country team prepares for their state meet in Valley City on Saturday, Oct. 28, head coach Jung has them working just as hard as any other week.
"I know we've been training harder," Jung said. "We actually had a normal week of training last week. We're even doing a few workouts early just to make sure we're sharp. Nothing too hard because we want them to be fresh. We've really been trying to focus on the mental part of it, making sure that they're taking care of themselves mentally as well as taking care of themselves physically."
A state meet takes a lot more mental preparation than a smaller regional meet. With twenty teams bringing up to ten runners each, the state meet is usually the largest runners encounter.
This season though, the Midgets traveled to the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn., where they saw the likes of 500 runners.
"I think that helps us out a little bit. I don't think we'll be as in awe as maybe we normally are," Jung said. "The atmosphere is completely different. You can tell that everybody is focused and it's definitely a state meet atmosphere."
Both the girls and boys team are young, and just two runners on the girls varsity team were at the varsity level last season.
Freshman Symone Beld leads the Midgets girl's team and ran her best time of 20:06 at the Western Dakota Association regional on Saturday, Oct. 14, good for 12th place.
"I've just been thinking of it as another practice," Beld said. "Physically, I keep icing my knee so it doesn't bother me and heating it and making sure I drink a lot of water and hydrate."
Brady Yoder, also a freshman, competed at the varsity level last season.
"(Yoder's) a pretty special talent," Jung said. "It doesn't happen often in boys distance running that young kids excel. It's very rare. We're really blessed to have a kid like Brady who runs as well as he does at his age."
Yoder finished fifth at the regional meet with a time of 16 minutes and 43 seconds, about 15 seconds shy of his best time this season.
"I'm just trying to stay relaxed this whole week," Yoder said. "Last year I was really nervous. I remember before the meet I was really nervous and that might of hurt a little bit."
Jung said he's hoping the boys team can place in the top ten on Saturday. The Midgets placed fifth at the west regionals, bested by Bismarck High, Bismarck Legacy, Bismarck Century and Williston.
"For the girls it's going to be a lot tougher," Jung said. "We were fourth in our region, but the unfortunate thing is, (eastern North Dakota) is super strong on the girls side. With Grand Forks Red River and Fargo Davies and West Fargo, they're just tremendous teams. ... It's going to be tough to be in the top ten, but it's definitely doable."