Firebirds hit finish line in 2014

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

By Harry Lipsiea

Journal Sports

The 2014 Devils Lake cross country season went on without a hitch, according to head coach Kurt Kukert. There were few injuries throughout and a group of hard-working athletes eager to improve, he said.

A strong campaign was capped off with a nice performance at the state tournament Saturday.

“It was a very successful way to wrap up the season,” the coach said. “I think all the runners walked away feeling good about how the way they performed.”

The Firebirds were led by Mattea Vetsch on the girls side. She finished 56th with a time of 16:21. Calli Forsberg took 133rd with a time of 17:52 while Erin Nelson placed 150th at 18:41. Haylee Carlson ran a 19:05 in 156th place. Abby Wavra took 160th with a time of 19:42. Abby Heilman rounded out the team with a time of 19:46.

Wyatt Jetty led the boys team in 116th place with a time of 19:02. Landen Hall took 127th with a time of 19:16. Damon Sobolik ran a 19:35 in 138th. Bryce Sebelius placed 157th with a time of 20:36. Chandler Dick was 164th with a time of 21:16. Luttapon Chonkiiattipom finished at 21:17 with a finish of 165th. Max Schuh placed 166th at 21:18. Jackson Weaver took 167th with a time of 21:35.

“Each of our runners ran either their best or close to their best personal time,” Kukert told the Journal. “I was very pleased with their efforts.”

The team recently announced its awards. Landen Hall and Mattea Vetsch were named most valuable runners. Bryce Sebelius and Calli Forsberg received rookie of the year awards. Damon Sobolik and Abby Heilman earned most improved while Max Schuh won the spirit award. Erin Nelson was named the most dedicated. Landen Hall and Abby Wavra received the senior captain award.

“It was a tremendously successful season,” the coach added. “All our athletes improved throughout the year. Most of all, I think they had a positive experience. That’s what cross country is all about.”

Going into the season, the coaching staff knew the 2014 campaign would be a rebuilding effort with more than half of their athletes new to the sport.

Losing just a couple ofseniors this season, the Firebird team appears to be in strong position going into next season.

“Instead of having 20 newbies, we will have runners with a year of experience under their belt,” Kukert pointed out.