MHS boys cross country team making strides

Two meets into the season, the Minot High cross country team is relying on it’s youth to grow.

“It’s a different crew from last year,” MHS coach Aaron Klingbeil said.

Since last year’s seniors have come and gone, a lot of guys have had to step up for the Magi. As it stands, Klingbeil describes his team as “young and evolved.” The Magi feature several athletes that have been on the team for years but are “finding their legs and really improving their game.”

While he remains optimistic about his team’s abilities, Klingbeil acknowledged the first two meets of the season were difficult for Minot High.

“The first course was long and hilly and a pretty hard course to judge the times on,” Klingbeil said. “The second course was measured short by about a minute or so and was also flat.”

Klingbeil is excited for Saturday to see the boys really hit their stride on an accurately measured course at the Mandan Kiwanis meet. The meet starts at 11 a.m. at the Mandan Municipal Golf Course.

Since the team has changed over the past year, Klingbeil said some of his athletes are entering “undiscovered territory.” But so far, he says the boys are “running better than they’ve run before.”

As the season progresses, many of the runners have stepped up to fill leadership roles. Cross country veterans Aaron Gochanour and Devan Forbes have been called the calming influences on the team.

“Forbes is a smooth long distance runner…a breath of fresh air to the team,” said Klingbeil. “He’s a very disciplined runner.”

Being a part of a military family, Forbes moved to Minot his sophomore year and has stepped up his presence on the team. Forbes was the top scorer for Minot in both races so far this season and has had times better than some of the best times last year.

Gochanour is a “cross country specialist,” according to the head coach. “He likes longer races and has been doing it since he was young,” said Klingbeil. Having someone like this on the team leads a great example to those new to the sport. Gochanour has a very “this is how we do it right” attitude. Gochanour has been top-ten for Minot this season so far.

Distance newbie Bailey Bonham is one of those guys who “found his legs lately,” said Klingbeil. Bonham was formerly a track runner but has brought his talents to the distance realm. Klingbeil says he “brings a lot of energy” to the team. Bonham has been top-five for Minot so far.

As far as state goes, Klingbeil said the boys are “going to have to be competitive.” So far, four boys have hit a sub-six minute mile pace between the first two meets, but Klingbeil hopes to see more boys join this sub-six pack through their own personal goals. “The boy work well together,” Klingbeil said. “But they’re going through an individual training phase right now.”

Though the core of this team has changed, Klingbeil says they’re enjoying the ride and improving individual training before their big focus on state.