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Sioux Falls Christian School Wins South Dakota State Championship in Boys’ Cross-Country

Sioux Falls Christian School Wins South Dakota State Championship
The Sioux Falls boys’ cross-country champs (left to right): Assistant coach Tim Ackerman, assistant coach Sara Mulder, head coach Luke Vander Leest, Maksim Strizheus, Isaac Engbers, Patrick Vogel, Isaac Davelaar, Derrek Vander Leest, Nathan Koole, Carson Engbers, Daniel Colby.
Mindy Whisler

Sioux Falls (S.D.) Christian School’s boys cross country team won their second consecutive South Dakota Class A State Championship this October. Five members of the team and two coaches attend First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls.

Head coach Luke Vander Leest said the boys had looked forward to doing well in the fall cross-country season, after the spring track season was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. The team did just that by winning all 11 meets in which they participated and taking home the championship with a Class A State meet record of 26 points—and in a blizzard.

“As much as the team enjoyed the success of the season, the relationships among the boys and their families is one of the lasting treasures of the season,” coach Vander Leest said. His son Derreck was on the team and was among Sioux Falls Christian’s top three finishers. He came in 10th place. Teammate Isaac Davelaar finished second, and Isaac Engbers finished fifth.

This is the team’s third title since 2016. Coach Vander Leest sees a connection between the sport and the school’s mission. “There are so many analogies between our faith journey and running, and it has been a joy for our coaching staff to help make these connections with our runners and to teach them that running can be an act of worship.”

The Sioux Falls Christian girls’ cross-country team finished as a state runner-up this year.

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