Aberdeen Central senior Hannah Kastigar gave runners a target, and then a hug at the Roncalli Cross Country Invitational Thursday in Aberdeen.
While Kastigar was winning the girls’ race, Summit senior Matt Zirbel turned in an impressive run to win the boys’ race. The Aberdeen Roncalli boys and the Redfield-Doland girls were the team champions.
One of the top Class AA runners — as well as swimmers and students — in the state, Kastigar covered the 4,000-meter Lee Park course in 15 minutes, 4 seconds to win the girls’ race, which was run mostly by Class A and B runners. Kastigar won’t be running with her Golden Eagle teammates this weekend in Saturday’s Clyde Cotton Invite in Huron, as she is visiting the University of Denver campus.
Kastigar, who qualified for the Olympic swimming trials this summer, is being heavily recruited as a swimmer. She is interested in a variety of schools, including Stanford, Grand Canyon University in Phoenix where her brother Adam is a freshmen swimmer and the University of Minnesota where her mom and Northern State/Aberdeen Swim Club coach Elyce Kastigar was a standout.
Kastigar said she was thankful to have the chance to run at the Roncalli meet and to run against girls in which she normally does not get a chance to compete. “I like different challenges like that, and I like running in home meets,” she said. “I felt good today. I just got started a while ago and my times have been dropping off. I just need to keep getting in more practices and meets to keep improving.”
After the race, as is her tradition, Kastigar waited at the finish line to give each runner in the race a hug after they finished. MiKayla Prouty of Clark-Willow Lake finished second in 15:25 in the girls’ run while Roncalli’s Kendra Woytassek was third in 15:48. Team champion Redfield-Doland had three finishers in the top eight in Nicolette Schmidt, Chloe Edgar and Tana Muellenberg.
The winning time for Zirbel over 5,000 meters in the boys’ race was 17:11. Second was John Noyes of Redfield-Doland in 17:40, while Roncalli runners Austin Hanisch, Dan Albl, Zach Schaefbauer and Favian Aguirre claimed four of the next six spots in the top 10 to push the Cavaliers to the team title.
Zirbel tore the inside and outside meniscus in his right knee during basketball last season. “I had knee surgery last spring and I didn’t start working out until July,” Zirbel said. “So I had a lot of questions coming into the season, but so far so good. It seems to be working out.”
Speaking of things working out, that is what is happening for the Roncalli boys. They are developing consistency, and have had a good week. The Cavaliers turned in a good run at Webster on Monday, and then won their home meet. The Deuel meet in Clear Lake awaits Monday.
“Our boys have been running well,” Roncalli coach Mark Stone said. “The gap between our top position and our fourth, fifth and sixth positions have really been tightening up. And that is what we need. When you start grouping up like that, you start doing better as a team.”
“We want to do well as individuals, but it all points back to the team. You want your top runners to keep improving, and your other runners to keep moving up next to them. We have a chance to keep being successful as a team if we keep working hard and keep improving.”
Stone said the Roncalli girls, which have been fighting injuries, need to continue to strive for that same kind of improvement. Stone said he is proud of his entire team, and it brings him joy to see 48 athletes from Roncalli compete on a beautiful day to run. “Sometimes it is nice to take all that in and your forget about the places and the times.”
Team: Aberdeen Roncalli (AR) 17, Redfield-Doland (RD) 26, Warner 35. Other teams competing were Webster, Summit, Sisseton, Northwestern (NW), Groton (G), Britton-Hecla (BH) and Clark-Willow Lake (CWL).
5,000 meters: Matthew Zirbel, Summit, 17:11; John Noyes, RD, 17:40; Austin Hanisch, AR, 17:50; Brady Chase, RD, 17:51; Mitch Prouty, CWL, 18:05; Dan Albl, AR, 18:09; Zach Schaefbauer, AR, 18:11; Favian Aguirre, AR, 18:44; Lane Schopp, Warner, 18:47; Brandon Barrett, BH, 18:54; Chance Torrance, Warner, 18:56; Dirk Backman, Warner, 19:09; Evin Miller, RD, 19:12; Niklas Hansen, Warner, 19:28; Alex Leschisin, Webster, 19:30; Luke Smith, G, 19:37; Justin Rosebrock, AR, 19:40; Daniel Holmstrom, AR, 19:44; Rawson Yost, CWL, 19:47; Tate Stroup, RD, 19:56; Tyler Hanson, RD, 20:37; Dron Becker, RD, 20:40; Trey Cosato, RD, 20:47; Zach Crandall, BH, 21:13; Travis Purdy, Summit, 21:20; Isaac Groft, NW, 21:21:00; Kaden Huber, Sisseton, 21:43; Dalton Tschetter, RD, 21:58; Kevin Huber, Sisseton, 23:01; Rob Wiley, Webster, 23:03; Tanne Heitmann, BH, 24:20.
Team: Redfield-Doland (RD) 19, Aberdeen Roncalli (AR) 25, Webster 34. Other teams competing were Warner, Summit, Sisseton, Aberdeen Central (AC), Northwestern (NW), Groton (G), Britton-Hecla (BH) and Clark-Willow Lake (CWL).
4,000 meters: Hannah Kastigar, AC, 15:04; MiKayla Prouty, CWL, 15:25; Kendra Woytassek, AR, 15:48; Nicolette Schmidt, RD, 16:01; Jasmine Schaller, G, 16:45; Emily Wiley, Webster, 16:46; Chloe Edgar, RD, 16:50; Tana Muellenberg, RD, 16:55; Molle Karst, AR, 17:00; Isabel Litzen, AR, 17:11; Peyton Groft, NW, 17:12; Isabel Blume, RD, 17:17; Katie Klopperrch, RD, 17:19; Maria Volesky, Webster, 17:49; Josie Clemens, NW, 17:58; Kandace Kolden, CWL, 17:59; Chelsey Lehrke, Sisseton, 18:03; Kate Gillette, RD, 18:04; MaKayla Zirbel, Summit, 18:10; Darby Duncan, NW, 18:25; Ashley Fosness, BH, 18:26; Sydney Moore, RD, 18:45; Courtney Somsen , Webster, 18:54; Brianna Weber, AR, 19:03; Emily Bohle, AR, 19:09; Ellie Weinmeister, AR, 19:19; Ariana Arampatzis, AC, 19:28; Whitney Zirbel, Summit, 19:30; Kristen Huber, Sisseton, 19:35; Hannah Block, Webster, 20:12; Ellie Harms, G, 20:15; Candace Burdich, RD, 20:16; Taylor Pudwill, RD, 20:24; Dylan Hanson, Webster, 21:11; Hannah Leschisin, Webster, 22:17; Seline Azar, Sisseton, 23:02; Allison Wicks, CWL, 23:13.