The future looks bright for the boys and girls cross country teams.
For one, the teams graduated just one senior from both teams this year.
For another, the teams will get a big boost at the beginning of the 2021 season, when the MSHSL will divide the cross country classes into three, instead of its current two-class iteration.
This means that instead of racing against some of the largest schools in the state in the section tournament – some with 3 or 4x the class size like Chanhassen, Shakopee, and Chaska – the Chargers will race against schools much closer to their size.
The disparity could be seen in this year’s section tournament, in which the girls finished 15th out of 17 teams, the boys 16th.
DC was the second-smallest school in terms of enrollment in the entire section.
However, in the Wright County Conference, against teams more similarly matched in enrollment, the boys finished 4th of 8 teams, the girls 5th.
Below are comments from head coach Brian Bessingpas.
Seniors: The Chargers will only graduate Madeline Pokornowski. Madeline has been a long-time varsity runner for the Chargers. She is from a running family which brought added benefits to the team. She has done multiple 1/2 marathons and is not intimidated by distance. This brought a certain toughness to our squad that made her a great lead-by-example kind of a person.
MVP (Boys): Benny Seefeldt, who was the #1 runner for the Chargers in every single race this year. Benny is the second-fastest freshman that we have had behind Troy Koivisto, and is already #12 on DC’s All-Time Honor Roll. Benny is a tremendous competitor who is serious about achieving big goals. We look forward to another three years of watching him compete. He should do nothing but improve as he continues to grow and develop.
MVP (Girls): Carlie Tormanen. Carlie is a very consistent performer both in meets and at practice. She is a high achiever who works very hard. Carlie is very coachable, and I really like the energy and enthusiasm that she brings every day. She was wisely elected captain by her teammates for next season. She will do a great job of leading the girls next year.
Most Improved (Girls): Kate Jenkins. Kate dropped over 8 minutes from her first 5k at Waconia to the Section 2AA Championships. She went from the back of our JV pack to the #4 runner on varsity. Kate is just starting to discover what she can do in cross-country. It was fun to watch her confidence grow throughout the season. It is unbelievable to think how far she came over the last 5-6 weeks of the season. Kate was hands down the most improved kid in our program (boy or girl) this season…maybe ever.
Most Improved (Boys): Emmanuel Johnson. Compared to last season, Emmanuel had a very nice progression. He was consistently in the 18’s for 5k, where as last season, he never broke 20:00 except on the very fast Litchfield course. Emmanuel really just completed his first year as a varsity athlete, he was dependable and elevated his game very nicely this season. Hopefully Emmanuel will consistently be in the 17’s next year.
Captains: Lydia Niemela, Madeline Pokornowksi, Haydn Veith, Emmanuel Johnson.
This captain mix was a good one. We entered the season a little discombobulated, not anticipating that the boys would be without a captain. This squad did a good job of learning quickly and working together well. It will be a unique situation for us next season in that we will have three of these kids that will return. They did a nice job of organizing some team practices at Collinwood Park, and doing a laser light run on the bike path. They keep it fun, but held the bar high for working hard.