Final time outEven though freshman Kyle Schumacher has been the top Jamestown High School finisher at most of the boys cross country meets this season, there’s no denying the impact of the Blue Jays’ core runners.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Even though freshman Kyle Schumacher has been the top Jamestown High School finisher at most of the boys cross country meets this season, there’s no denying the impact of the Blue Jays’ core runners.
Seniors Phillip Manley, Kyle Gee and Michael Sorensen are longtime runners who provide a “different variety of leadership.”
“Some are more vocal and take an active role,” Gardner said. “Some seniors are better at leadership through example by working hard and being at practice, whether they’re trying to motivate or make cross country more fun.”
The last meet of their prep careers starts Saturday, when the Jays go to Dickinson for Class A state competition, set for 3:15 p.m. Central Time.
Each senior has their own story.
Manley stood out very early in his career.
“Of the course of his career, he’s been one of our most consistent runners,” Gardner said. “Kyle and Michael have come along over time. Phil has been one of our more consistent runners in the top five over the last three years.”
Gee has been steady for Jamestown.
“He’s the one that every year, you see him improving that little bit,” Gardner said. “He’s probably shown the most consistent improvement over the course of his career.”
Sorensen was the highest finisher of the three at the West Region meet last week and was the team’s top finisher at state last season.
“He’s one that usually peaks well,” Gardner said. “He was our No. 1 finisher at the state meet last year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case this year. We’re looking for a breakout race from him.”
With the state meet only days away, Gardner said his runners won’t be doing any strenuous workouts or anything that might cause fatigue for Saturday.
“All the hard work is done,” Gardner said. “They’re not gonna get in any better shape from now till the state met. Now we make sure their legs are fresh.”
For the girls, the Jays currently have just one senior in Anna Larson. The sister of two-time state champion runner Sam Larson of Jamestown, she’s no stranger to the sport.
“She’s been with the program all six years,” Gardner said. “She’s been around the sport; she knows what it takes. She’s done a real good job. Anna’s really stepped up and taken that leadership role with such a young team.”
The Blue Jays’ top three runners for most of the season have been eighth-graders Maya Moltzen, Ligia Schulz and Rachel Morin. Eight of the team’s top 10 runners are freshmen or younger.
“My goal for this state meet is to get them experience,” Gardner said. “We’ve got some girls that have been really competitive.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org