Dickinson High junior cross country star Brady Yoder made history, Saturday. Becoming the first Dickinson athlete to place first at the North Dakota State High School Cross Country Championships in over 40 years and leading his team to a third place overall finish with a point total of 104, only trailing Williston High with 91 and Bismarck Century with 51.
After placing second at the 2018 NDHS State Cross Country meet with a time of 15:48, Yoder Yoder was driven with making history and defeating his toughest opponent Sean Korsmo of Bismarck High. In the early morning race on Oct. 26, despite the difficult weather conditions, including strong winds, Yoder was able to use the wind in his advantage and be the first Midgets athlete to win state since 1977 with a time of 15:20. Defeating Korsmo by over 12 seconds.
“Taking second (in 2018)...it’s been tough at being so close and it just feels awesome to finally get (first place) and finally be a champion,” Yoder said. “I had to push those middle miles really hard and that’s just what I was trying to do...Just trying to stay tough in the weather, all the great competition that we had at the race, just trying to stay tough.”
Yoder recalls being near the end of the race, knowing that the first place slot was officially his.
“I just got a great feeling...just a rush coming down the home stretch, just feeling such an awesome feeling,” Yoder said.
Along with Yoder’s strong performance, senior Aiden Jung finished 14th overall with a time of 16:21, Caleb Hanson followed shortly behind placing 15th with 16:23. Hunter Gregoire and Griffin Obrigewitch would also help bring the Midgets a third place team finish with times of 16:55 and 17:15.
“It’s just overall an incredible day...the (players) had a great attitude all year, they worked hard all year, and it’s just really nice that all this (hard work) paid off at (state,)” head coach Greg Jung said. “You want to be the best on the last day (at state) and we were certainly were. And Brady...He was incredible, he definitely set the tone for the race and he kinda made a move between mile and two and kinda got some separation from (Korsmo) and he just never looked back, he just looked really strong.”
For the women, the team would finish 16th overall with a point total of 457. Peyton Laser would lead the pack for the second consecutive meet with a run time of 20:32. Symone Beld would follow shortly after with a time of 20:59. Despite the finish, Jung believes this will help them improve in the 2020 cross country season.
“We’re really happy with the girls, I know being 16th (is tough)...but overall, just looking at their times, they really, really ran well...We hope the girls are confident going into the next season,” Jung said.
Despite being happy with the historic achievement and his team's third place finish, Yoder is prepared to continue working hard in the cross country off season and getting ready to defend his first place achievement at the 2020 state meet.
“We just got to keep improving, I know (other teams) are going to keep improving, they want (to win) just like I do, so nothing’s ever given and we’re all just going to keep working hard and trying to improve the most we can," he said.