Cross country runners not only battle each other for medals and places, it is also a competition between them and the course.
Area high school runners sloshed through the Central Heights course Monday in a rescheduled race from Thursday. The local schools fared well with Central Heights taking home team championships in both divisions. The West Franklin boys and girls were right behind the Vikings in second place in both divisions. The Falcon girls were spearheaded by three runners placing in the top eight.
The West Franklin boys were led by the sparkling performance of freshman Kyle Haner, who won the race.
The Wellsville boys took third behind its four medalists. The girls finished fourth.
Viking coach Troy Prosser said his runners were hyped up to compete on the home course.
“After having our home meet delayed from last Thursday to Monday, I was happy with the excitement and energy the runners brought with them,” he said. “In most sports you get multiple home ‘games’ but in cross country you may only get one shot at displaying your athletic ability in front of your home crowd.”
West Franklin coach Ryan Hahn liked how his runners attacked the competition and the course after a week break because of the weather.
“The course was very mushy, which made for slower times, but the uncertain course conditions is a part of what makes cross country so exciting,” Hahn said. “I am very proud of the efforts of these athletes and encouraged by their performances.”
Prosser said the sloppy course may have slowed the times, but that did not keep the runners from competing at the highest level.
“The course was wet, soft, and muddy in several places which definitely slowed things down, but it’s all part of outdoor athletics,” he said. “We couldn’t control the weather or what our competition did, but the groups found ways to help each other and bring out some fantastic efforts. I have to give a huge shout out to all of the parents who put in countless hours getting the course ready, the CH staff who helped run the meet smoothly, and all of the spectators.”
The depth on both varsity squads is what sets the Viking apart from its competition. The boys, who are the defending 2A state champs and the top-ranked team in the state, displayed that depth on its home course as five Vikings placed in the top 20. Central Heights won the team title by 34 points.
Alex Cannady and Mason McCurry paced the Vikings in second and third.
The Viking girls had all five runners place in the top 13, which is the best performance of the season. Central Heights was pushed for the team title by the Falcons, winning by seven points.
Madison Bridges paced the Vikings in fourth place. Lily Meyer and Abby Brown were fifth and sixth.
“This group is still not quite satisfied with everything,” Prosser said. “The championship meets are right around the corner and I’m thrilled for the accomplishments of each and every runner on this team.”
Hahn said the Falcon varsity girls squad’s goals were met with Monday’s performance.
“After their great showing at Rim Rock, they were ready to take on the next race and see themselves continue to improve,” Hahn said. “They did just that. Emma Bailey and Bailey Leach ran confident and exciting races to claim second and third. Lily Judd ran a very impressive race, putting herself into a position to potentially place in the top five. The work that Lily has been doing is paying off, and the grit that she has shown tells me that she is close to putting all of the pieces together for a breakthrough race. I look forward to seeing that happen in the next few weeks. Elizabeth Singer worked her way up the field of runners to claim her second medal of the season, and Kaitlyn Pringle battled to bring the girls a second-place team finish.
Hahn said Haner showed how much he has learned to race tactically this season.
“Kyle Haner ran a smart race to claim the first victory of his high school career,” Hahn said. “Taking the lead in the final mile of the race, he kept pushing the pace until he had dropped the entire field. Nathan Hassler made a big stand for the boys team, leading a key trio through the first half of the race. Kale Link and Noah King were the other members of that trio, both placing in the top 15. The results of the boys race was very dependent on the position of the packs, and the position of those three gave the boys team the four point edge over Wellsville, bringing them a second-place team finish.”
Hahn said the middle school runners continue to put together strong races.
“They made a statement with medalists in each division, and strong finishes from every runner,” he said.
Central Heights and West Franklin compete Thursday in the Pleasanton and Osage City meets.
The Wellsville boys varsity found the right combination in this race. Four Eagles placed in the top 17 to power them to a third-place finish behind the top-ranked Vikings and West Franklin.
Scott Hoehn paced the Eagles in 12th place. Zeb Harris finished 14th. Josh Brewster and Dawson Dwyer were neck-and-nick in taking 16th and 17th.
The girls squad was paced by Shayla Clary in 26th place.
Wellsville’s next competition is Thursday at Osage City.
Varsity Boys (First)
2, Alex Cannady, 18:57; 3, Mason McCurry, 19:00; 5, David Craft, 19:24; 6, Luke Cotter, 19:48; 20, Nicholas Schultze, 21:28; 30, Luke Burkdoll, 22:35.
4, Madison Bridges, 22:36; 5, Lily Meyer, 22:49; 6, Abby Brown, 22:52; 12, Taryn Compton, 24:17; 13, Samantha Ferris, 24:18.
JV Boys 5K (38 runners)
11, Max Cannady, 24:41.
Eighth Grade Girls 2 Mile (14 runners)
1, Emma Cubit, 13:50;
Eighth Grade Boys 2 Mile (13 runners)
1, Dakota Kuczmarski, 12:54; 6, Alex Skeet, 15:50.
Seventh Grade Girls 2 Mile (26 runners)
1, Kaylee Holstine, 13:31; 10, Ashley Harkins, 16:25; 14, Macy Cubit, 17:24; 21, Arabella Dunbar, 18:27.
Seventh Grade Boys 2 Mile (31 runners)
1, Connor Burkdoll, 12:30; 4, Cody Hammond, 13:44; 5, Jotham Meyer, 13:45; 6, Owen Miller, 14:12 9, Brylan Sommer, 14:57; 21, Aydan Dunbar, 16:57; 22, Aidan Howland, 16:58; 25, Kreig Garrett, 17:22.
Varsity Girls Team (2nd)
2, Emma Bailey, 21:54; 3, Bailey Leach, 22:19; 8, Lily Judd, 23:13; 16, Elizabeth Singer, 24:53; 25, Kaitlyn Pringle, 27:19.
Varsity Boys Team (2nd):
1, Kyle Haner, 18:41; 11, Kale Link, 20:34; 15, Noah King, 20:52; 22, Nathan Hassler, 21:30; 28, Nicholas Hatfield, 22:13; 41, Timothy Pearce, 25:20; 42, Martir Caceres Ramos, 27:08.
Eighth Grade Girls
2, Kassie Mains, 14:59.
Eighth Grade Boys
3, Lucas Hassler, 13:47; 13, Wyatt Wright, 21:47.
Seventh Grade Girls
8, Mackenzie Walter, 16:09; 18, Sarah Wright, 18:03; 20, Katelyn Carroll, 18:08.
Seventh Grade Boys
2, Hunter Bailey, 12:33; 31, Gideon King, 23:12.
Varsity Boys (5K)
12, Scott Hoehn, 20:37.5; 14, Zeb Harris, 20:51.9; 16, Josh Brewster, 21:05.5; 17, Dawson Dwyer, 21:05.7; 23, Conner Erhart, 21:41.6; 24, Jimmy Dorsey, 21:41.8; 27, Ethan Elliott, 21:58.6.
Varsity Girls (5K)
26, Shayla Clary, 27:45.5; 29, Marissa Haagensen, 28:22.6; 33, Shelby Soetaert, 29:44.8; 34, Morgan Garner, 30:39.5; 35, Sarah Face, 30:52.7; 36, Erin Laskowski, 31:32;
JV Boys (5K)
1, Coy Jones, 21:48.1; 2, Ian Smith, 22:21.2; 4, Damen Eiche, 23:12.9; 8, Wyatt Bender, 24:16.5; 12, Aisten Henry, 24:44.7; 18, Carson Richardson, 27:42.3; 22, Derek Ashburn, 34:20.
JV Girls (5K)
12, Madisyn Marsh, 31:30.7; 15, Sierra Norman, 37:15.6; 16, Shelby Harter, 39:01.7.
Eighth Grade Boys (2 mi)
7, Chase Douglas, 16:20.9; 8, Ty Weekes, 16:24.8; 12, Kandin Edwards, 17:34.
Eighth Grade Girls (2 mi)
4, Karizma Shay, 15:34.2; 13, Madison Norman, 20:17.6; 14, Emily Farquhar, 23;12.6.
Seventh Grade Boys (2 mi)
24, Maddox Carnell, 17:04.2.