Rapid City Central's Hannah Hearn runs in the Elks Invite at the Elks Golf Club in Rapid City on Friday. Hearn finished third to help the Cobblers to a team title.
Neither wind nor heat nor the threat of swift competition could stop Tamara Gorman on the Elks Golf Course on Friday afternoon.
The talented Rapid City Stevens junior used a mid-race burst to pull away from the pack on her way to winning the individual title at the Rapid City Invitational, while Rapid City Central completed the host city’s domination of the event by claiming the team title.
The girls race - run in 77-degree temperatures made more uncomfortable by a brisk 25-mph northwest wind - was tightly bunched until approximately the 2,000-meter mark when Gorman surged on a lengthy straightaway into the wind.
Only Tabitha Simmons of Gillette, Wyo., responded, staying a couple of strides back while Calbi Ausmann of Newcastle, Wyo., and three Rapid City Central runners -- Hannah Hearn, Shacey Burgess and Adeline Straatmeyer -- stretched out behind.
Simmons’ challenge was short-lived, however, as Gorman, correctly gauging her opponent, broke away shortly thereafter.
“I didn’t notice the wind all that much and really didn’t know anything about the competition in this race. So I just went out and ran my own race,” Gorman said. “I made my move after the stretch into the wind. I could hear her breathing and I felt like I had more left.”
Her premonition - perhaps borne of competing against a world class triathlete - was correct as Gorman cruised to a 14-second win while Simmons hung on for second.
Hearn led the Cobbler charge to the team title, finishing third ahead of Ausmann. Burgess (fifth), Straatmeyer (seventh), Amy Brandt (14th) and Nakaila Steen (23rd) contributed to Central's winning team total (50). Gillette took second (62), Stevens was third (80), Laramie, Wyo., took fourth (91) and Sturgis was fifth (147).
“It was a really good race today with a lot of competition,” Hearn said. “I give Tamara a lot of big props because she normally takes a point in the race to separate herself from everybody like she did today. As for winning the team title, we have a lot of good runners, and we are starting to put it all together.”
A very pleased Cobbler coach Thad Caldwell agreed.
“I’m very excited with our performance today. We only had six runners and they had to get out quickly and position themselves right from the beginning to give themselves a shot at the end, and they all did that,” he said. “They always say they are a family, and when one of them doesn’t have their best day the others will step up and help carry the team. That’s what they did today.”
The boys race was pretty much a Wyoming affair as Laramie’s Jonah Henry was an easy winner, and only Douglas junior Caleb Diggs (fourth), Hot Springs junior Eric Yager (sixth) and Stevens’ sophomore Connor Haaland (12th) prevented a Wyoming sweep of the top 12 positions.
Laramie, with five runners in the top 13, easily won the team title with Stevens second and Gillette thrid.
The Raiders had Mark Poston (14th), Garrett Peterson (17th), Thomas Pfeifle (23rd) and Aaron Schone (32) all finish in the top 35. Rapid City Central finished seventh in the team competition, led by Taran Vollmer (24th), while St. Thomas More eighth-grader Lucas Julian finished 19th.