Every single Beckman cross country runner improved their time this season. That is the goal of any runner and it seems the Blazers met that goal.
For the boys team, three seniors led the way and “definitely did a great job of motivating the underclassmen,” added coach Brian Carroll. “They assisted them with suggestions and strategies for the races. Their running led a good example for the rest of the team.”
Those three are Luke Chapman, Manwuel Dunkel and Matt Schmitt. All three ran their best times near the end of the season and cut close to two minutes off their season-opening times. Chapman paced the squad in most of the meets he was healthy enough to run, and his season best came at the West Delaware meet, 19:43, a time he came close to matching in the final two meets of the year, conference and state-qualifying. Dunkel ran his best, 19:56, at the conference meet, as did Schmitt, who matched his 20:22 run a week earlier at the West Delaware meet.
Carroll added, “Overall the boys varsity team was a success in that they developed into a strong unit, especially the top core runners. In most races the top five or six were all very near each other, which helped to encourage them and propel them forward.
“The highlights for me, as a coach, were to see them stretching and running together as a solid unit while encouraging each other. That way they could really give everything they had at the very end, almost sprinting to the finish. Of the three returning runners from last year, Matt and Eric Recker broke their previous records.
“The future of this team will depend on how well the remaining runners step up, their off-season prep, and if we can recruit some additional runners. Otherwise we will be hard pressed to complete a full team at the varsity level.”
On the girls side, the lone senior was Danica Burger, who paced the team in all but one meet this season. Like the male runners, her best time came at the season-ending West Delaware meet, just before conference and state-qualifying (22:22). She just missed that time the following two weeks, but still finished in the top half of the individual runners.
“Danica was crucial to any team ranking we received,” said Carroll. “With her top-half finishes, we greatly improved our total team score. The rest of the girls always saw her as the leader and were inspired to run faster because of that. She also set an excellent example, never complaining, taking on any run challenge, pushing herself beyond and following through with plenty of stretching after each run.”
Through the season, membership on the team fluctuated because of injury and other commitments. “That prevented the team from unifying and developing their rhythm,” said Carroll. “But the top five girls were the most unified and consistent in their running, and all runners improved over the season.”
As with the boys, the girls best times came at the end of the season, with Emma Squiers topping at conference (24:06),Olivia Thier and Jackie Olberding at state-qualifying (24:14, 24:58).
“Out of the seven who ran last year, Burger, Olberding, Anika Brehm, Nicole Schmitt and Squiers, all broke their previous PR,” added Carroll. “The future of the team looks promising, especially if the remaining runners step up and stay dedicated to off-season running. We also have Isabelle Kluesner moving up as a freshman next season and she had a very successful season as an eighth grader this year. She has a disciplined work ethic similar to Danica.”
Other season best times for the runners include: Kurt Koopmann 20:38, Michael Keegan 20:06, Isaac Schlarmann 21:30, Luke Oberbroeckling 23:57, Nicole Schmitt 23:44, Josephine Smith 26:30, Katie Fitzgerald 26:39, Cambrie Willenbring 26:13, Natasha Otto 27:31, Claire Grebner 26:31, Megan Ertl 26:45, Brehm 28:01, Sophia Smith 28:07, Jadon Corkery 34:07.
Several junior high runners also competed this year and compiled the following best times: Anya Westhoff 16;37, Kluesner 14:24, Savanah Oberbroeckling 17:20, Auden Recker 13:47, Augustine Smith 13:48, Max Mullis 15:10, Sheldon Corkery 16:57, Joe Hermsen 16:27, Devin Burlage 15:31 and Sam Oberbroeckling 17:25.