Allen Wood (Maple Valley, WA) not only led his team to the win at the Region III Championships, but was also the individual champion in the men’s division. Wood won the 8,000-meter race in a time of 25:09 with teammate Trent Waage (Aberdeen, SD) taking the second position just eleven seconds back. Cody Bordewyk (Livermore, CO) was the third finisher for the Yellow Jackets and finished 4th overall behind Dakota State’s Chris Heezen. Bordewyk crossed the finish line in an 8k time of 25:29. The fourth finisher for Black Hills State was the Hot Springs native, Mike Nekuda in a time of 25:42. He was 6th overall in a field of 157 competitors. The Yellow Jackets have had numerous runners competing for the fifth position this season, and on Saturday it was Mark Mazza (Cheyenne, WY), who finished 23rd overall, filling the position in a time of 26:23. The Yellow Jackets finished 1st in a field of 16 teams with a team score of 36 points. The top finish at the Region meet guarantees the men an invite to the National Championship meet in Kenosha, WI on November 17th.
In the women’s race the Lady Yellow Jackets ran hard but finished in the 3rd position in the team standings. Junior Alicia Verhulst (Ralph, SD) had been battling a knee injury all week leading up the Region meet, and struggled again with the injury through the 5,000-meter race. Kerry Washburn (Cheyenne, WY) was the top finisher for the Jackets with a 5k time of 18:16, and a 5th place finish overall. Wendy O’Lexey (Rock Springs, WY) finished just behind Washburn in a time of 18:28 and a 7th place finish. Other finishers for Black Hills State, and rounding out their top five included Shelli Scheffler (Lovell, WY) 19:28, Katie Cook (Cheyenne, WY) 19:45, and Kaila Ivers (Wray, CO) 19:50. Overall the three of them finished in the 24th, 34th, and 36th positions. There were a total of 154 individuals in the women’s race. The Lady Yellow Jackets finished with a team score of 106 points and a 3rd place finish in a field of 18 teams. The women’s team will have to wait for the final rankings to see if they hold their spot in the top 25 teams and get a chance to compete at the National meet.
Allen Wood, Trent Waage, Cody Bordewyk, Mike Nekuda, Kerry Washburn and Wendy O’Lexey garnered All-Region honors by finishing in the top ten. Wood was also selected as the Region III Runner of the Year.