Runners took to their place at the starting line, with friendly cheer filling the cold air before the starting pistol was shot to begin the WDA cross country championship.

Held in Dickinson at the Heart River golf course, the event would dictate region champs, but also allow each participant to strive to set personal best records.

The first race held was the girls varsity that saw Williston and Bismarck High leading the pack, before the Demons’ front runner sophomore Bayla Weigel took a clear lead, finishing at 18:27. Leading the Coyotes was Eleni Lovgren who was named 2021 senior athlete of the year.

Dickinson’s youngest runner, eighth grader Leila Gregoire, held No.1 spot for the Midgets finishing at 16th with a time of 20.17. She was followed by junior Peyton Laser, who finished 21.54.

Eighth grader Leila Gregoire, held No.1 spot for the Midgets finishing at 16th with a time of 20.17. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Eighth grader Leila Gregoire, held No.1 spot for the Midgets finishing at 16th with a time of 20.17. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

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Seniors Claire Kreidt and Morgan Aune stayed close together until Kreidt moved up front. Freshman Arabella Privratsky caught up to Aune and they were neck and neck at the finish line.

“I think that girl (Leila) you could put her in a lot of situations and she is always going to be successful because she is that kind of athlete that gets the job done no matter what variable is in her way,” Dickinson girls head coach Dakota Hayes said. “It was a little bit cold, a little bit windy, a little bit rainy, but she has a goal and she doesn't let those things get in her way.”

Claire Kreidt powers through as she approaches the finishing line. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Claire Kreidt powers through as she approaches the finishing line. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Overall Dickinson girls came in eighth. Williston took the crown with 45 points followed by Minot at 72 and Bismarck 91.

The Dickinson boys’ team had a more competitive day, finishing fourth overall with 93 points. They had huge contributions from their front runners, seniors AJ Ash finishing fourth at 16:04. He will certainly be a force to reckon with at the state meet in Jamestown in a couple of weeks.

AJ Ash takes fourth in boys varsity. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
AJ Ash takes fourth in boys varsity. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Out of the gate, senior Caleb Hansen made his presence known at the front of the race landing a top ten spot at 7th. Junior Jace Cofer was the Midgets’ No.3, just barely finishing in the top 20 at 17:10.

Winning with ease was Williston junior Ivan Askim at 15:48, followed by Century’s senior Griffin House. The bronze was awarded to Williston’s junior Fynn Krenz. The Coyotes took the boys category as well with 43 points.

Naomi Obrigewitch, mother of Dickinson's runner Mattie Obrigewitch, give Jake Skabo a high five after he completes the race. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Naomi Obrigewitch, mother of Dickinson's runner Mattie Obrigewitch, give Jake Skabo a high five after he completes the race. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

CROSS COUNTRY

Boys team results - 9 teams

4th - Dickinson, 93

Top area finishers

4 - AJ Ash, 16:04; 7 - Caleb Hansen, 16:23; 20 - Jace Cofer, 17:10; 25 - Eli Hansen, 17:23

Girls team results - 8 teams

8 - Dickinson, 283

Girls top area finishers

9 - Leila Gregoire, 20:17; 51- Peyton Laser, 21:54