TMP cross country begins season Saturday
Published on -8/31/2012, 10:33 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' cross country team would like to make school history and bring home some state hardware.
No Monarchs girls team has finished in the top three at state, and with the senior trio of Heather Ruder, Allison Pfeifer and Annie Mindrup, this might be one of the Monarchs' best shots at accomplishing that.
"I really believe we could challenge for a trophy," said seventh-year TMP coach Matt Dumler said. "That's where we kind of have our eyes set. We'd like to get a trophy."
For Pfeifer though, her goal is more simple. She just wants to finish the 4,000-meter race at state.
The previous two years, Pfeifer collapsed short of the finish line, and last year, it caused TMP to not record a team finish since only four runners completed the race.
She's not sure what happened to her in either situation, but it only happened at state.
"To finish state. Just to finish," Pfeifer said of her goal.
The Monarchs increased their numbers this season, so they should have more than five runners at state this spring.
TMP has nine runners competing for seven girls' varsity spots, and Pfeifer said the work ethic of younger girls, such as sophomore Grace Volker and freshmen Shelby Stouffer and Jordan Manhart, has impressed her.
"I think it might be one of the more talented teams I've seen here in my four years here, so I'm excited with what we can do," Pfeifer said.
At the Class 3A state championships last year, Ruder finished third in 16:15 after winning state her previous two years. Mindrup was 57th in 18:29.
The Monarchs also return junior Kayla Walker, who finished 71st in 19:01.
The boys' team didn't qualify for state last season, but Dumler said they should be strong.
The Monarchs return four seniors, Adam Urban, Nick Dopita, Lucas Walker and Sam Schmidt, and should get a boost from underclassmen Toni Staab, sophomore, and Andrew Hess, freshman.
Hess finished first at the Monarchs' time trial, and Dumler said he expects Staab to compete for the top spot.
Dumler said the seniors also competed in a summer race that caused them to put in a mileage base.
"The boys team, in general, has surprised me," Dumler said. "This is the first summer that they've really put in a big summer base mileage."
As a whole, the team is the largest Dumler has had, featuring nine high school girls and 12 boys. The middle school team also has 13 runners.
Dumler said there were only three middle schoolers at the first practice, and it has grown from there.
"Pretty much every day we were picking up one or two, and now, we are at 13," Dumler said. "That's exciting to see that."
The Monarchs will host their home meet Saturday on the TMP campus.
The Monarch Invitational will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature teams from Goodland, Hutchinson Trinity, Larned, Lyons, Ness City, Pratt-Skyline, Victoria and Hays Middle School.