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2006 Nike Team Nationals - Heartland Preview

the "two Joshes" lead unbeaten Potosi MO boys - Willmar boys return with one of toughest teams in MN history - Yankton girls are 3-time NTN selection

Nov. 30, 2006 Portland OR

by Tony Bozarth, Heartland regional editor

Yankton SD girls - Roosevelt Sioux Falls SD girls - Potosi MO boys - Willmar MN boys - Iowa City IA girls

 Yankton SD girls

Coaches: High School and Club:

Dan Fitzsimmons
Dave Dannenbring
Doug Haar
Lori Leader - Chaperone 

Probable Line-up at NTN:

Betsy Bies
Tiffany Leader
Emily Smith
Kristin Sternhagen
Mariah Hofer
Ethelin Cammock
Jade Steinberg
Megan Hilson

Please give a summary of outstanding individuals on your team:

Betsy Bies is the defending NTN Individual Champion.  She is also a FootLocker finalist (2005 & 2006).  She has placed 2nd  (2005) and 8th (2006) at the Foot Locker Midwest Regionals.

ESD All-Conference Team:

Betsy Bies
Kristin Sternhagen
Tiffany Leader
Emily Smith
Mariah Hofer
Megan Hilson

South Dakota Class AA All-State Team:

Betsy Bies
Mariah Hofer
Tiffany Leader
Emily Smith
Kristin Sternhagen
Megan Hilson

South Dakota All Class Elite 25 Team:

Betsy Bies
Mariah Hofer
Tiffany Leader
Emily Smith
Kristin Sternhagen

South Dakota Academic All-State Team:

Betsy Bies
Emily Smith
Tiffany Leader

Could you please describe your school's setting.  Include the school's size, and maybe some background on the town.

1049 students (9-12)
13,000 Yankton population
Lewis & Clark came through this area on their way west.
Custer camped here shortly before his demise at Little Big Horn.
Yankton was at one time the territorial capitol of the Dakota Territory.

Hometown of Tom Brokaw and the first NTN Individual Champion - Ramsey Kavan.

Home of the Yankton College Greyhounds (now a Federal Prison Camp) - the college that produced hurdle great Tommie White and NFL star Lyle Alzado.

Could you please describe the cross country history of your team in
year's past (When did the team start contending for state titles, ect.)

After we finished 2nd in 2002, our girls have regrouped to win 4
straight state championships and outside of their two NTN appearances
have accumulated an overall record of 262-1 over the last four years.
They have not lost a regular season meet since an early season defeat to
Rapid City Stevens in 2003.  There only other losses have occurred at
NTN where they have finished 3rd (2004) and 5th (2005) respectively.
That makes us 296-7 over the last four years.

How would you describe your philosophy as a coach? 

We believe in opportunity for all.  We believe in moderation and consistency.  We teach to the total person - socially, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.  Running is just the vehicle that brings us together.

Any thoughts or reflections on competing in the NTN? 

What a great opportunity and experience!  It is the truest of all team events!  Our program is all about the journey, but if there had to be a destination one couldn't ask for a better place and atmosphere than the land of the
Bills, Pre, and Alberto . . . .

Iowa City IA girls

IOWA CITY IA  HS  (City of Iowa Track Club)  GIRLS
Coaches: High School and Club:Tom Mittman (high school), Ali Kirsch (club)

Probable Line-up at NTN:Samantha Sidwell, Annie McKay, Brittany Dlhy, Kelsey
Hart, Jessica Yagla, Cassidy White, Emily Fagan

Please give a summary of your season this year, including what you felt were
highlight meets: 
Winning and defeating Naperville North (NTN 4th in 2005) at
Pleasant Valley in our second meet of the year, placing second at Griak only 2
days after a meet against some of our best in State competition, winning
Conference, district, and State.

Please give a summary of outstanding individuals on your team:
We had 4 different girls lead us in meets this season.  Our top 5 finished
within 16 seconds of each other at State (10th-12th, 18th and 19th places), and
our sixth girl was only 8 seconds behind our fifth.  All 7 of our runners
finished ahead of the fifth girl of other contending teams.  This was our
formula throughout the season.

Please describe your school's background . University town (University of Iowa) of
65,000 with one other high school serving the overall metropolitan area of
85,000.  Our student body is a 4 year school with 1350 students and we have a
sharing agreement for cross country with West Branch which is a rural school
and has a student body of about 250.

Please describe the cross country history of your team in year's past
(When did the team start contending for state titles, ect.)

First State title in 1989.  Since then we have won 11 State titles and
finished runner up every other year except in 1996 when we finished 3rd.

How would you describe your philosophy as a coach?
We encourage as many as possible to come out and teams average in 65-90 in
size. Our motto is every girl pulls the one behind and pushes the one in front
to make the team better. We strive to have the best JV and Freshman/Sophomore
teams as we feel this will keep us competitive year in and year out. We want
every kid on our team to feel like they contribute to our varsity success.

Could you briefly outline your training philosophy?
We are a relatively low mileage team 30-35 miles a week.  I find that more
miles makes for an unacceptable number of injuries.  We do push girls to make
these quality miles and run a variety of workouts typically focusing on tempo
work and long runs (7-10 miles) and allowing racing to provide most of our
speed work.  As the season progresses we run more workouts with a mix of tempo,
speed and build. We do Core exercises daily and promote 2-3 times a week weight
lifting through most of the season. We also promote giving something back to
the community with a fund raising road race each of the last two years being a

Any thoughts or reflections on competing in the NTN?
I think this is a reward for hard work during the season. Hopefully it will be
a fun event for them without the stress of say the State Meet. It is hard to
maintain the edge we get during the regular season especially with kids
involved in other sports and with no hands on coaching allowed (very
frustrating for me).  But it is an opportunity for our senior captains to be in
charge and run the practices which I think is a valuable experience.  It also
will prove valuable to the younger kids in preparing them for big meets in the


Potosi MO boys

POTOSI MO XC Club Coaches:  Steve Davis_High School     Calvin Malloy-Club Probable Runners at NTN:  Seniors-Josh Thebeau, Josh Mathis, and Daniel Forbes   Juniors-Evan Kelly and Joe Skelton  Sophomores-Jacob Swearingen and Nick Niggemann Seasonal Highlights:  We ran 8 meets-won all 8.  Highlights were the Forest Park Festival, Missouri Southern Stampede, Chile Pepper and the State meet.  The Joshes went 1-2 every meet, with Josh Thebeau winning all except Missouri Southern and Districts(team ran as a pack). State team score of 16 points was a State meet record, breaking the record of 19 set in 1951.  Josh Thebeau set a Class 3 Individual record of 15:37 on the hilly Jefferson City course, breaking the record Josh Mathis set in 2005 of 15:41.  Six of the seven runners made All-State, with Swearingen-3rd; Niggemann-6th; Forbes-8th; and Kelly-19th.   Please describe your school's setting:  Potosi is a rural town, approximately 60 miles south of St. Louis.  Town population is approximately 2,600 with a High School (9-12) enrollment of 747 students.  The school is located in town, but has a large amount of students that rely on bus transportation.  Potosi is a very hilly town, surrounded by a countryside full of trails, which benefit the runners. Please describe the Cross Country history at your school:  Coach Davis became head coach in 1995.  The boys team has won District meets in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.  Potosi won their first State title in 1999.  They also won State in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006.  They were second in 2004. Coach Davis' philosophy:  My philosophy as a coach is to try and have my runners reach their potential with hard work and clean living.  We teach that athletics is just preparation for the real world and try and develop good life skills and habits.  Training is year round, with twice a day runs through the week.  Our mileage gets as high as 90 miles a week for the runners who are ready for it.  Our young runners benefit from a Middle School program so even our freshmen can run as many as 70 miles in a week.   We stay with high mileage the first month of the season, with alot of hilly runs and tempo work.  We then start interval work at week 5 of the season.  Our taper usually starts at 10 days before the State meet, but was different this season with the chance of competing at NTN. Reflections on competing at the NTN:  We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to compete at a meet of this caliber. From Potosi to Portland is a big step for these small town athletes.  NTN promises to be a lifelong memory for the runners and their families. 


Willmar MN boys

 Willmar MN makes their second trip to the NTN after placing 14th in last year's meet.  Willmar  won their second straight Minnesota state meet this year, dominating the field with 41 points to second place Rosemount's 114.  Kaafi Adeys led the team with a 5th place finish, running 15:30 for 5k, with also in the top ten Abdi Awale at 7th (15:36).  Mahad Hassan (14th 15:53), Mohamed Bedel (16th 15:56), and Mustafa Yusuf (23rd 16:09) completed one of the toughest top five in Minnesota history, with Andrew Nicklawsky (59th 16:42) and Scott Boros (98th 17:13) rounding out the squad. 

   Willmar went undefeated during the year, including a victory at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota.

Roosevelt Sioux Falls SD girls

  Led by the Eckert twins, Roosevelt of Sioux Falls SD has staked a claim as one of the top girl's programs in the nation.  Roosevelt took the idea of "find the competition" to a high level this year.   The team won the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, edging fellow NTN competitor Iowa City High 151-161 behind Allison Eckert's 18:17 5k victory.  Krista Eckert followed in fifth at 19:21, while Roosevelt packed their next five runners in an 8 second gap between 20:29 to 20:38. 

 The team then traveled to Lawrence KS for the Rimrock Invitational over KU's famed Rimrock Farm course.  Allison Eckert again won going 14:13 over a rugged 4k,  with Krista again fifth at 14:57 against a talented mult-state field.  Roosevelt dominated with a 73 to 160 victory of Marquette of St. Louis and a 15:17 average.  Only one other team the entire year had a sub 16:00 average at Rimrock. 
 Roosevelt placed second this year to fellow NTN competitor Yankton in the South Dakota state meet 33 to 55.  Allison Eckert won the state title with a 14:22 4k, defeated defending NTN champ Betsy Bies of Yankton in the race.  Krista Eckert was 4th at 15:07, with Caitlyn Crowley (13th 15:55), Erin Hargens (17th 16;01), Bailey Breems (20th 16:02), Seanna Kautz (29th 16:28) and Laura Bauer (44th 16:52) completing Roosevelt's state meet lineup.