Bainbridge and Byers on collision course in Class A distances

Chamberlain senior Ella Byers will be looking to cap her senior season with more state titles. At right, Lennox 8th-grader Ali Bainbrdge (center) will be chomping at the bit to win her first state title.

By Rich Winter

One of the really great stories coming out of the state cross-country meet last year was Chamberlain senior Ella Byers winning her second state title after battling injuries through much of her high school career. The last time South Dakota track fans got a glimpse of Byers, she limped off the track during the 3200 meters, the victim of a pesky stress fracture.

This fall, long-time Chamberlain coach, Gary Winter, started Byers slow. Early in the season Byers was behind athletes like Winner Area’s Sidda Schuyler and 8th-grade teammate, Allison Hough. Slowly, throughout the season, Byers worked her way way into shape.

By Championship Saturday, Byers was in top form, breaking her own Class A state cross country meet record for Yankton Trails Park. In 2015, she ran 18:41.21 for 5k.

In 2018, she ran the course in 18:22

While Byers won, Lennox 8th-grader was on her tail, five seconds back in 18:27

And that folks means we should have some great Class A track battles this spring.

3200 meters:

With both Maddie Lavin and Cait Savey lost to graduation, this could be a wide open event.

Top returners:

3rd - Jade Ecoffey Red Cloud - 11:46

4th - Sidda Schuyler - Winner 11:51

5th - Alli Bainbridge - Lennox 11:52

6th- Karlee Simmons - Hill City - 11:52.05

Byers has run this face in the low 11’s, maybe like 11:23 (not sure)

1600 meters:

With last seasons top four gone to graduation here are your top returners.

5, Ali Bainbridge, Lennox, 5:24.34;

6, Karlee Simmons, Hill City, 5:24.39;

7, Kenzie Hamann, Deuel, 5:25.07;

8, Sidda Schuyler, Winner, 5:26.61.

Byers did not run that race a year ago, but she does have the fastest Personal best of any of the returners.

Byers, who is headed to the University of South Dakota next fall also has a 2:15 personal best in the 800 meters.