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Laker seniors key strong cross-country season

Brian Basham/TRIBUNE Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles heads down the backstretch at the Mid-State meet at Lakeview Golf Course.

With eight seniors anchoring an experienced lineup, the Detroit Lakes boys' cross-country team had one of its most successful seasons in quite some time.

Not only did each senior bring a hard-work ethic, they each brought something different to the table, to solidify one of the most important aspects of having a good season -- team chemistry.

"Having those eight seniors was a huge positive," said DL head boys' coach Bill Kvebak. "Each one brought something important."

The eight seniors include Matt Weiss, Ben Langworthy, Collin Johnson, Michael Bogda, Mike Sorensen, Josh Skov, Ajuawak Kapashesit and Nick Piche.

"They just brought a ton of leadership," Kvebak added. "And the team came up big in the big meets."

The expectations were high heading into the season and a good performance in their first meet of the season at Moorhead backed up those goals.

That accumulated into a strong performance in the Mid-State Conference meet and the section race.

"The Moorhead meet set the tone for the entire season and then we took third in our DL Invite meet and that was a very good showing, too," Kvebak added. "The guys just bought into the team concept and that king of chemistry helped build the team.'

Weiss and junior Leif Johnson were the consistent one-two runners for DL throughout the season. Each had season-best times of 17:00, both coming in the Section 8-2A meet.

Weiss was the first Laker in every meet, except for the DL Invite and the sections meets, where Johnson finished ahead of him.

"Both got faster and faster through the season," Kvebak said. "They were under 18 minutes in every meet and were usually finishing in the top 10.

"The biggest thing, though, is they pushed each other in practice."

The Laker's No. 3 runner on a usual basis was sophomore Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles, who had a season-best time of 17:15, which also came in the section meet.

Langworthy was the consistent fourth runner in, with a host of others in the final places, including Luke Weibolt, Sorensen and Quillan Oak.

Even though losing eight seniors is quite a job to replace for 2009, based off the section meet, DL returns its top five of seven runners.

"Even though we had a great season this year, we have a chance to be better next year," Kvebak said. "But we will be building off of this year, these guys laid the foundation."

Kvebak also credited junior high coaches Ryan Zunich and Maggy Doll for helping develop the younger runners, allowing each coach -- including girls' head coach John Freeman -- the time to give individual attention to each runner.

"That really made a difference," Kvebak said of the extra coaches. "And the kids really responded in every meet. Everyone had personal-best times in the conference and section meets.

"It was a great year."

Laker results

2008 Detroit Lakes boys' cross country individual best times -- Leif Johnson 17:00' Matt Weiss 17:00; Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles 17:15; Ben Langworthy 17:58; Luke Weibolt 18:33; Quillan Oak 18:38; Brandon Olson 19:34; Collin Johnson 19:40; Patrick Bakken 19:45; Jason Stallman 19:51; Michael Bogda 19:54; Mike Sorensen 20:14; Nathan Kitzman 20:17; Tre Martinez 20:24; Dameon Rozek 20:24; Travis King 20:47; Aaron Kalberer 20:49; Nick Piche 21:33; Gunner Michon 22:07; Tim McKagon 22:11; Keith Thornby 22:19; Taylor Blank 22:40; Cody Johnson 23:00; Josh Skov 24:36; C.J. Hanson 25:51; Ajuawak Kapashesit 25:59.