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Dickinson State cross country sweeps NSAA championships

At Heart River Golf Course on Saturday during the North Star Athletic Association cross country title meet, the first men's runner around the final bend and through the finish line was a Jamestown runner.

Dickinson State junior Christopher Moreno nears the finish line for a second-place finish at Heart River Golf Course Saturday during the NSAA cross country championship. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State junior Christopher Moreno nears the finish line for a second-place finish at Heart River Golf Course Saturday during the NSAA cross country championship. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

At Heart River Golf Course on Saturday during the North Star Athletic Association cross country title meet, the first men's runner around the final bend and through the finish line was a Jamestown runner.

Then, in second, came Dickinson State's Chris Moreno, followed shortly after by a runner representing Waldorf - the Blue Hawks biggest competition entering the day.

On it went for DSU and Waldorf, each trading top-10 finishers. The Blue Hawks finished with four, the Warriors with three, which meant DSU just needed one more runner to cross the finish line before Waldorf could get two of their own over.

The Blue Hawks got their fifth man across the line in 11th place. It was Daniel Aguirre, who held off three Waldorf runners, and helped clinch a spot for the men at the NAIA National in Elsah, Ill. on Nov. 19 with a team score of 34 compared to the Warriors' 39.

About 30 minutes later, the women's team joined the men, winning the NSAA women's championship and punching its own tickets to Elsah.

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As Aguirre crossed the finish line, the four Blue Hawks waiting for him - Moreno, Tristen Guillot, Ernest Franssen III and Jonathan Aman - did the math in their head and began celebrating their second NSAA title in a row.

"Toward the end there it became a dogfight," said Moreno, who finished the 8K race in 26 minutes, 09.33 seconds. "I was just so excited when I turned around and saw my buddies and teammates behind me. It was just like that one expiring moment, like, 'We can actually do this, we're about to do this.'"

Directly behind Aguirre were three straight Waldorf finishers; had one or two of them slipped past him, it may have been a different outcome.

But he and Aman, who was a few seconds ahead, had no intentions of letting that happen.

"I couldn't even feel content the whole race because I could just hear the Waldorf coach yelling out, 'If you get these two guys we can go to Nats," Aman said. "I couldn't relax until I finished. But when I saw my brothers at the end, I just felt perfect. I felt like I was at equilibrium with myself. I was on cloud nine when I saw them at the end."

The Blue Hawks women's team handily won their 5k race with a team score of 27 - Jamestown was next at 48 over - and there was much less to be nervous about.

Led by Amanda Wolff's first-place 19:48.98 finish and Christina Herrera's second-place finish, the Blue Hawks, who because of a small roster and injury problems failed to place at two meets earlier this season, had their most complete performance to date and finished with four top-10 finishers en route to extending their season to Nov. 19.

"Everything felt good today, thankfully. It was a beautiful day to run and be a Blue Hawk," Wolff said. "Not just because we hosted it, it just feels amazing. It's not even about the title or anything, it's just amazing to run for my team. They all wanted it as bad as me."

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Before last season, the women's team had never won a conference title. The win at last year's NSAA meet was the men's first conference championship since 2011. Now both are going to nationals for the second time in a row.

"I'm thrilled. These kids work so hard. When they have a bad day it's tough, because obviously they're always working so hard. I can coach and cheer them on but they're doing the work," head coach Ben Shroyer said. "Every year is different. You've got different people, different circumstances, different stuff to deal with every year, and to able to do it two years in a row, I'm just so pleased."

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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