By Rich Winter
With Jace Kraft out of the picture, the boys in Saturday's Class B state cross country race can breathe a little easier...or can they?
Bison 9th grader, Daniel Burkhalter has been cracking the top-five in podiums at state meets since his 7th grade year. Now, he might be poised to go on an unprecedented tear and compete for four consecutive high school titles, a feat I believe only accomplished by former Takini and CEB standout, Kiko Mendoza.
Burkhalter finished 3rd a year ago but the guys above him on the podium have both graduated. With that in mind, Burkhalter is the pre-race favorite, but he will have company in the last half mile.
Let's take a look at the top-three from all five Regions from Class B and see if we can't get a better handle on some of the race favorites.
Region 1 -
1st - Jayden Waldner - James Valley Christian - 17:24
2nd - Kedrick Brantner - James Valley Christian - 17:48
3rd - Caleb Clair - Desmet - 18:14
10th - Michael Waldner - James Valley Christain (Posted his 10th place finish because with their top-two, JVC could easily be a team favorite for Saturday's race)
Region 2 -
1st - Camren Harming - Elkton Lake/Benton - 17:41
2nd - Mason Dexter - Canistota - 17:51
3rd - John Brave Hawk - McCrossan Boys ranch - 17:55
McCrossan athletes Dillon Brazzi and Donovan Two Lance finished 6th and 7th and I suspect this team could be in the hunt for a state title.
Region 3 -
1st - Ryan Haggerty - Freeman Academy - 17:51
2nd - Thaniel Schroeder - Freeman Academy - 17:58
3rd - Aaron Voight - Gregory - 17:59
Freeman Academy had athletes finish in the No. 6 and No. 7 slots in the Region and will likely be a factor in the team race.
Region 4 -
1st - Rex Schlict - Woonsocket - 17:10
2nd - Austin Brown - Stanley County - 17:30
3rd - Ethan Weinheimer - Sully Buttes - 17:31
(Lyman high school was the Region 4 team champion)
Region 5 -
1st - Daniel Burkhalter - Bison - 18:09
2nd - Garrett Snook - Philip - 19:00
3rd - Garrett Rolph - Newell - 19:23
(Philip was the Region champion and they finished third a year ago so they will likely be in the team-title hunt)
Individual - I see Burkhalter winning this race but Rex Schlict of Woonsocket should be right there along with Jayden Waldner of James Valley Christian.
Team race: Wow, where to begin with this one! I fully expect one heck of a team race. On paper, I have to give the edge to James Valley Christian. Feel like Freeman Academy and McCrossan Boys ranch will be right there with Philip in the mix.
Good luck to all the athletes, coaches and parents.
You can follow me @panicgalore on twitter.