by Billy Stitz
Flandreau Flier girl’s cross country returns their entire team from a year ago, a team that put one runner in the State Meet in Marilyn Allen and four very experienced varsity runners in Morgan and Quinn Orlick, Ashley Stenger and Caitlyn Drietz.
“We didn’t lose any seniors from last year and almost all of our runners are back out, so the numbers for the girl’s team are very good,” Brendan Streitz, head coach of both the girls and boys XC teams in Flandreau, said.
Allen, who will be just a sophomore this year, has already ran in the State Meet in each of her first three seasons, finishing in 27th last year, just two spots from an All-State position. “Marilyn is becoming a mature runner as she gets older and knows what it takes to be successful.”
Streitz believes that she has what it takes to be an elite runner, and she is willing to work hard to be one. “I believe she will put in the work she needs to have her best season yet and make it to her fourth straight State Meet.”
Flandreau was real close to sending a couple other runners to the State Meet last year. Drietz and Quinn Orlick finished in 27th and 28th at Regions and just missed qualifying for the season’s final contest.
Orlick, who has ran in the State Meet before, will be one of the team’s senior leaders, along with twin sister Morgan, and four other Flier runners who will be competing in their final season’s for Flandreau, something Streitz isn’t really used to.
“My first few years coaching XC, I at times didn’t even have one High School runner, so to have six seniors who have all run for multiple years is amazing,” he expressed. “The seniors are such a great group and lead by example.”
The girl’s team as a whole is coming off a season where they won the Lake Central Conference meet and placed second among eight teams in the Big East Conference meet. With 12 viable options for Streitz on the varsity roster, he looks forward to watching the competition for the final six spots for the conference meets. “It will be very competitive to crack that top six for the Conference and Region teams, but that will only serve to make our team stronger,” Streitz mentioned. “This will be the strongest girls’ team we have had since I have coached XC in Flandreau, our goal is to get better and see how far we can go,” he added.
As for the boy’s team, they return three runners that competed in last year’s State Meet, including senior Guy Zephier who made his fifth appearance at the meet last year. Streitz believes he will make his sixth appearance this year, and recognizes that Zephier knows what it takes to get there. “This is not Guy’s first gig, he is smart and capable. He knows what it takes to be an elite runner and he will do what it takes to make it happen.”
Two other runners for Flandreau took part in the State Meet in Anthony Julson and Dylan Erickson. Julson took home Flandreau’s top spot in last year’s State Meet, finishing 25th and earning All-State honors.
“I see Dylan, Anthony, and Guy all as number one runners for any team. I’m just lucky to have three of them,” Streitz said about his top three runners.
His expectations for his boys team, who like the girls, won the LCC meet a year ago and placed second at the BEC, are quite high. “I would like to see all three in the top 25 (at State) but a lot of things need to fall into place for that to happen,” Streitz mentioned. “That being said, there is no reason why all three of our state participants from last year can’t move up this year,” he added.
Streitz looks forward to his even younger runners learning from the three top runners, and believes that with their help, they will have a formidable team for years to come.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams will get the season started next Tuesday, September 3rd, at the McCook Central-Montrose Invite in Salem.