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Ronan runners looking forward to strong finish

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RONAN – Ronan racers started their season off with perfectly cool running conditions, a 3-mile course along a canal, and determination to finish better than they did last year. The Maidens and Chiefs held the Canal Bank Run on Friday, Sept. 2, and seniors Daniel Koehler and Jackson Duffey were interested to see if their summer conditioning had paid off.

“We have been working really hard to get back in the rhythm of competing,” Koehler said. “We have a young team, but most of them have experience.”

Last season, the Chiefs won Divisionals and placed fifth at State.

Duffey, who led the team last year with a second place individual finish at Divisionals and placed in the top 25 at State, is hoping to make his final cross-country season just as successful.

“I am pretty much looking forward to seeing how much our team can improve throughout the year,” Duffey said. “I am excited for Divisionals and State again … I want to come home with a trophy.”

Until the final meets, the athletes will continue to condition and improve on racing techniques.

“We need to work on forming little packs during races so we can generate a larger amount of points,” Koehler said.

Head Coach Noelle Decker is relying on her seniors to show leadership skills throughout practices and competitions.

“Our seniors know what we need to do and the job needs to get done,” Decker said. “We have a lot of season left, but I am happy with how we are progressing so far.”

The Chiefs have 18 athletes competing and Decker is looking forward to watching them compete internally for faster times.

“It is going to be a dog fight each week to see who will compete on the varsity team,” Decker said. “This is a good problem to have because they will push one another.”

As for the Maidens, it is a different story. With only five girls out for the team, they have a different game plan for their season.

“We have a great group of girls this year,” Decker said. “It is a small team, which means they will have to pull each other along during competitions.”

Despite lack of athletes, Maiden Ashley McCready led the girls’ team with a third place finish time of 21:01 at the home meet. Teammates Penni Weyant and Lanissa Mahkuk finished back-to-back with a 13th and 14th place finish. Maiden Korrie Fisk was close behind, crossing the line in 24th with a time of 29:28.

On the boys’ side, Duffey finished first with an impressive time of 16:06.11. Teammate Nate Dennis finished sixth just in front of James Normandeau.

With their first race under their belts, Ronan runners will focus on bettering themselves meet by meet.

“This is a great team and we all get along really well,” Duffey said. “We all have room for improvement and it just takes practice.”

The Chiefs and Maidens will travel Friday, Sept. 9, for the Flathead Invitational.

Girl Results –

3, Ashley McCready, Ronan, 21:01.

8, Karolyn Buck, St. Ignatius, 22:37.

13, Penni Weyant, Ronan, 23:24.

14, Lanissa Mahkuk, Ronan, 23:35.

16, Shaniya Decker, St. Ignatius, 24:27.

18, Yvonne Baty, St. Ignatius, 24:38.

20, Elsa Kylen, St. Ignatius, 25:08.

24, Korrie Firsk, Ronan, 29:38.

26, Amy Dillard, St. Ignatius, 31:46.

29, Keisha Dillard, St. Ignatius, 33:08.

Boy Results

1, Jackson Duffey, Ronan, 16:06.11.

6, Nate Dennis, Ronan, 17:22.

7, James Normandeau, Ronan, 17:24.

12, Kiry Detwiler, Ronan, 18:06.

13, Daniel Koehler, Ronan, 18:11.

16, Caden Rhine, Ronan, 19:03.

23, Aden Birdinground, Ronan, 20:42.

24, Christian Silgen, Ronan, 21:00.

25, Michael Koehler, Ronan, 21:26.

27, Jacob Dresden, Ronan, 21:39.

29, Tyler Joachim, Ronan, 21:50.

30, Thomas Pretty On Top, Ronan, 22:49.

35, Jamie Romero, Ronan, 29:19.

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