WAMEGO — Lincoln girls played the numbers game to perfection and it all added up.

By dropping to Class 1A this year, the Leopards not only dominated individually Saturday at the state 4A-2A-1A cross country meet, but they also took home the team trophy.

"That's like the frosting on the cake," Lincoln sophomore and individual champion Jaycee Vath said of the team title. "We only have four girls out, so that was great."

 

Class 1A is the only division to count four players toward the team score instead of five, and Lincoln made the most of the provision with all four girls finishing in the top nine. The Leopards were first with 16 points, followed by Berean Academy with 41 and South Central in third with 86.

In addition to Vath, who covered the hilly 5-kilometer Wamego Country Club course in 19 minutes, 47.7 seconds, senior Aubry Donley was seconds in 20:13.6, freshman Raegen Stewart eighth in 21:26.4 and freshman Shelbie Ford ninth with a 21:31.7.

"I came in with a team and I'm going out with a team," Donley said. "My freshman year we had a team here, but my sophomore and junior years we didn't.

"We were lucky we switched down to 1A."

Donley, who missed last year's meet with an injury, placed ninth as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore in Class 2A. Vath was runner-up in 2A a year ago, but dominated the 1A field.

"I like to get out and get my pacing set," said Vath, who went straight to the front and never gave up the lead. "That was I don't have to run against anyone else.

"Getting out at my own pace helps a lot."

In addition to the four Lincoln runners, area medalists included Washington County freshman Natalie Roepke in fourth (20:46.3), Pike Valley freshman Carolina Barraza in 14th (22:04.4) and Tipton sophomore Jaylyn Wiese in 17th (22:17.3).

 

Briggs 2 for 2

The 70-degree temperature at start time put more heat on Chapman sophomore Taylor Briggs than any of her competitors in the 4A race.

Briggs led wire-to-wire, defending her 2017 championship by nearly a minute in the afternoon sun with a time of 18:57.6. Bishop Miege's Fallon Russell was a distant second in 19:53.6.

 

"It was a lot warmer than last year, let me tell you," said Briggs, whose race was the last one of the day. "(But) I love the Wamego course.

"It's really pretty."

Despite her previous success on the course, Briggs wasn't taking anything for granted.

"I was pretty nervous still," she said. "Less nervous than last year, probably, but I was definitely nervous."

Not that she felt any outside pressure to repeat.

"The only pressure is what I put on myself," she said. "I just try to run my race."

Baldwin won the 4A team championship with 51 points, followed by Eudora with 81 and Buhler in third with 107. Individually, Abilene senior Sydney Burton turned in her best state finish in her final race, placing fifth with a time of 20:20.5.

 

Giefers lead Trego to 2nd

After four years, Trego senior Helen Giefer finally made it to the winner's circle, and she nearly brought the Golden Eagles with her to the top.

Giefer claimed the lead about a half mile in and left everyone else in her wake, capturing the Class 2A title in 19:30 after twice finishing third in the race.

Adding to her excitement was seeing junior sister Sybil Giefer come home in third place and her Trego team take second.

"It's so cool," she said. "I was really hoping to do well in this meet my senior year and go out on top.

"I'm so proud of (Sybil). She really ran well."

Helen Giefer, who placed third as a freshman and junior, plus sixth her sophomore year, was followed in second place by Kansas City Christian sophomore Alysia Wagner and by her sister Sybil in third at 20:39.1.

"It's pretty cool," Sybil Giefer said. "We've been working for a long time for this.

"It's really fun to see my sister win a state championship."

Ellinwood won the team title with 102 points, followed by Trego with 110 and defending champion Bennington in third with 127.

For Bennington, freshman Ashlyn Harbaugh was the top finisher in fifth place with a time of 20:43.6, while senior Kya Johnson took 17th in 21:31.1. Other area medalists were Hoxie's Emily Diercks in seventh (20:56.0) and Plainville's Aubree Dewey in 15th (21:29.4).

Sacred Heart finished eighth as a team. Senior Kate Brull led the Knights in 29th place with a 22:19.4, while Madisyn Ehrlich took 38th (22:44.9).