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SPOTLIGHT
TMP's Ruder runs away from competition

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TMP's Ruder runs away from competition

Published on -9/14/2012, 10:18 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Thomas More Prep-Marian senior Heather Ruder is used to taking the lead early, and though she was competing with some of the top runners in 6-1A at the Hays High School Invitational, she didn't feel there was any reason to change her strategy.

Ruder ran away from the competition on the newly-created Indian Praire Cross Country Course, leading from the beginning of the race to the end.

Ruder won the meet with a time of 14 minutes and 29 seconds on the 4,000-meter course -- a 26-second improvement from her previous personal best. She finished 44 seconds in front of the next fastest runner in the 4-1A division, junior Jessie Rubottom of Ness City.

She was 12 seconds faster than the 6-5A division winner Alex Miller of Garden City.

"At this meet, sometimes I get a little leery, because I know people will be pushing," Ruder said. "Sometimes I get scared of taking out too fast, because I don't know if I can hold it or not. But that's my strategy. My coach always tells me it's worked so far decently, so keep going with it."

Ruder buoyed a TMP team that ran without Allison Pfeifer, helping the Monarchs finish third in the 4-1A division with a score of 96 on Thursday at the Hays High Invitational.

Norton, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A according to the most recent coaches' poll, won the meet with 42. Ness City was second with 58.

Norton's girls packed together well.

Sophomore Sierra Griffith was third in 15:17, but after her, the Bluejays' second through seventh runners finished with just 42 seconds between them, ranging from 15:50 to 16:32.

"That's our goal to stay tight from No. 1 through No. 7, and right now, our No. 7 girl is running faster than what our five kid was running last year," Norton coach George Rossi said. "That's what we preach all the time is to stay tight and run faster as a group."

On the boys' side, Ness City won with a score of 51. It was the first meet this season the Eagles have won.

Norton finished second with 64, and Goodland was third with 67. TMP was fourth with 100.

Ness City junior Dray Carson and senior Wyatt Beckman were 1-2 in the boys' 4-1A division, finishing in 17:23 and 17:55, respectively.

"I felt pretty fast, but I didn't run as fast as I thought my time would be at this meet, but it was still a good race," Carson said.

TMP's top runner on the boys' side was Andrew Hess. He finished 11th in 18:56.

Norton got a strong performance by its top four runners, who were third, seventh, eighth and 10th, but their fifth runner placed 37th, hurting the team score.

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