Sidney Herald

Youth and experience have been qualities possessed by Sidney's cross country team the past two seasons. This year, however, eight girls return to the team with strong varsity experience. Included in this pack of everlasting three-mile runners include Justeen Leibach, Mykel Ler, Gio Ruffatto, Shanda Sweley, Katelyn Koch, Bridget Bergin and Katie Haase. Joining the varsity squad this season are Sissy MacGrady, Jenna Welnel and Taryn Kalberer.

"It's still very early in the season, but Justeen and Mykel are looking very good at this point," Head Coach Virginia Dschaak said. Injured throughout much of last season, Leibach is in good health so far this season, Dschaak said.

Running three miles in courses offering contrasting terrains can be a trying experience, but these strong-willed girls are being coached with the sort of philosophy that makes for a relentless-running athlete.

"I try to reinforce to the girls that they have to take the next step and believe they can go beyond the point where they think they can go - push past the comfort and make it hurt," Dschaak said. "It has to be their desire to take the next step. I printed out a philosophy that I expect the girls to all believe in - 'Heart and desire cannot be coached. It has to come from within.' "

Used to training through the hills of the Sidney Country Club, the Eagles will compete Saturday at the Billings Central Invitational to be held at Riverfront Park, a three-mile course known for its flatness and quick times. Although not typical of many cross country courses, Dschaak sees this upcoming race as a great lifting experience for her runners.

"This course gives the girls a sense of security and a good feeling about what they're doing. I like to have them get that early sense of doing well," Dschaak said. "It's a positive experience and at the same time they can go against good competition. It's kind of a two-fold experience."

sports@sidneyherald.com

Sidney Herald

Youth and experience have been qualities possessed by Sidney's cross country team the past two seasons. This year, however, eight girls return to the team with strong varsity experience. Included in this pack of everlasting three-mile runners include Justeen Leibach, Mykel Ler, Gio Ruffatto, Shanda Sweley, Katelyn Koch, Bridget Bergin and Katie Haase. Joining the varsity squad this season are Sissy MacGrady, Jenna Welnel and Taryn Kalberer.

"It's still very early in the season, but Justeen and Mykel are looking very good at this point," Head Coach Virginia Dschaak said. Injured throughout much of last season, Leibach is in good health so far this season, Dschaak said.

Running three miles in courses offering contrasting terrains can be a trying experience, but these strong-willed girls are being coached with the sort of philosophy that makes for a relentless-running athlete.

"I try to reinforce to the girls that they have to take the next step and believe they can go beyond the point where they think they can go - push past the comfort and make it hurt," Dschaak said. "It has to be their desire to take the next step. I printed out a philosophy that I expect the girls to all believe in - 'Heart and desire cannot be coached. It has to come from within.' "

Used to training through the hills of the Sidney Country Club, the Eagles will compete Saturday at the Billings Central Invitational to be held at Riverfront Park, a three-mile course known for its flatness and quick times. Although not typical of many cross country courses, Dschaak sees this upcoming race as a great lifting experience for her runners.

"This course gives the girls a sense of security and a good feeling about what they're doing. I like to have them get that early sense of doing well," Dschaak said. "It's a positive experience and at the same time they can go against good competition. It's kind of a two-fold experience."

sports@sidneyherald.com