Sports Spotlight: Bowman County Cross Country

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:53 PM CDT
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BOWMAN COUNTY, N.D. (KFYR) - For the past 44 years, something’s been happening in Bowman County: the Bulldogs Cross Country teams have been running laps around their opponents.

Head Coach Jonathan Jahner believes there’s a pretty good reason for that.

“They’re hard workers. They work their tails off day in and day out. Practice, races — it doesn’t matter. They come to work and it’s just fun to be with them. It’s great kids, it’s great families. We’ve just got awesome people down there that know how to work hard and that’s the beauty of it,” said Jahner.

With a combined 43 state titles between the boys and girls programs, success is a massive part of the team’s culture.

“We have been lucky to have top-end guys and girls that set that example, and therefore the whole program sees, ‘Man, if I want to do this, then I’ve got to be like that guy,’” said Jahner.

“It’s really inspiring and every day you just know that you can show up and everyone is going to be there working their hardest. It just really helps to know that… Just working hard every day to be your best self,” said Jaci Fischer, Bowman County senior.

Taylor Wanner is a Bowman County junior. His brother Austin was the individual state champion last year. Having upperclassmen set a great example is what helps build a program.

“I’ve always looked up to seniors. We’ve had Camden Wokal my 7th grade year, then Brian Miller and Gavin Scott and then Austin Wanner and Caleb Sarsland. Losing Austin and Caleb last year was tough because they brought so much personality and bond, they helped the bond so much. So, it was really sad to lose them, but we try to live up to what they left us,” said Wanner.

Running long distance takes everything an athlete has got. Having a close-knit team that feels like family pushes the Bulldog runners further than they sometimes think they can go.

“It’s a second home. You just feel at home when you’re with the team. They make you feel great, and they always push you. It’s just great,” said Jonah Njos, Bowman County sophomore.

“The team atmosphere we have really helps. Each day, you come in with a good attitude and we all push each other every single day. The team helps you every day to push yourself to the max,” said Fischer.

The Bulldogs will be competing in the Hazen-Beulah Invitational this Friday at Black Sands Golf Course.