Despite cold and breezy conditions, Sioux Falls gave a warm welcome to runners from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin for the Heartland Regional Championships. Meet Director, Kristi Rieger and her Nike team rolled out the red carpet for nearly a thousand high school runners for the 7th Annual Nike Cross Heartland Regional XC Championships. Thousands of athletes and fans received star treatment from event staff and volunteers, enjoying a beautifully groomed and flag studded course. Maximum Promotions of Sioux Falls lined the finish shoot with dozens of US flags and the starting line with flags from all 50 states. Nike professional athlete Lopez Lamong braved the near freezing temperatures to greet runners at the finish line and congratulate top finishing individuals and teams on the podium. Lamong represented the US in the 2008 Olympics and was the US flag bearer for the opening ceremonies in Beijing.
Tamara Gorman, Rapid City Stevens High School freshman and Tony Smoragiewicz, Rapid City Central High School junior will advance to Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, December 4 after their performances at the Nike Heartland Cross Regional XC Championship Meet held on November 14 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This will be a return trip to NXN for Smoragiewicz, who qualified to compete in 2009 with the top fifth individual finish at the Nike Heartland Regional Meet.
Smoragiewicz continued his perfect season with a first place finish in the Boys Championship race finishing with a time of 15:16.76. Smoragiewicz shattered the previous course record by nearly seven seconds which was set in 2008 by Jakub Zivec of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Smoragiewicz now holds the top spot on the Nike Boys All Time Top 10 list for the Nike Heartland Regional Meet.
Tamara Gorman, was the fastest freshman in the Girls Championship race finishing fourth with a time of 18:02.23. Gorman’s finish was especially impressive given that Nike Heartland was her first ever 5k race. Gorman is the only Heartland Region freshman to advance to NXN as an individual.
Additional athletes advancing to NXN include Allison Woodward (Wisconsin), Shelby Houlihan (Iowa), Jamie Piepenburg (Minnesota), and Maria Hauger (Minnesota), Adam Zutz (Minnesota), Marshall Moyer (Iowa), Jake Leingang (North Dakota), and Shane McCallum (Minnesota). Two boys teams from Minnesota, Wayzata and Edina, as well as girls teams from Eden Prairie (Minnesota) and Dowling Catholic (Iowa) will also advance to Portland.
Other notable finishes for South Dakota runners include Riley Coates (Rapid City Stevens senior) and Tanner Ahrendt (Sioux Falls Roosevelt sophomore) who were the second and third placing South Dakota finishers. Coates finished in 28th place with a time of 16:03.49 and Ahrendt finished in 31st place with a time of 16:06.28. Addison Dehaven (Brookings) earned the top place for all freshman boys at the meet, finishing in 86th place with a time of 16:44.47. Bailey Broderick, Rapid City Central freshman, celebrated her 15th birthday on the course with the second fastest freshman time among South Dakota girls with an 85th place finish with a time of 20:12.93 in the Girls Championship race.
Spearfish freshman, Savannah Childers (third from right, poses with her teammates) earned a third place finish in the Girls Open race with a time of 20:13.15.