WAMEGO — The Central Heights cross country teams put together a historic day Saturday in the 2A State Cross Country meet in Wamego.
For the first time in school history, both teams brought home state plaques. The boys were the state runner-up and the girls finished third, which was the highest placing for a girls team in school history.
“History. That’s what Saturday was about,” Central Heights coach Troy Prosser said. “Since 1992, Central Heights had not been represented by a girls team at the State Cross Country Championships, and as each of our girls crossed the finish line it seemed more and more apparent that it was going to be close in the team standings for taking home a trophy. When I received the results I had to hold back my excitement to make sure no one else had any idea what had happened. It only seemed right that the girls were the first to know what they had just done. Their third place finish was the highest placing in the history of girls Cross Country at Central Heights.
"At first I wasn’t sure how they would respond to the news, but the smiles, tears, and hugs told the story of how happy they were knowing they are officially the best CH has ever put on the course. Even through all of the adversity each and everyone of them fought through this season, the one thing I knew would put them near the top of the 2A rankings at the end was their heart and determination. This is one incredibly tough group of athletes.”
The boys followed that up with a historic performance.
“About two hours after the girls finished off their great run, the boys made history of their own with a school-record 48 points, breaking their own record of 58 from a year ago,” Prosser said. “Taking the state runner-up trophy home is an accomplishment that 10 other schools failed to achieve at the meet and I’m unbelievably happy for each of the kids on our team. There were several times this season that it looked like the wheels were about to fall off, but they kept pushing through the pain and cemented their place as one of the best teams in program history. In reality, it took a state record 40 points by Stanton County to keep us from our second straight title. There is no question that the seniors — Tyler Stevenson, Alex Cannady and Mason McCurry — have had one of the greatest three-year stretches ever at CH.”
There were some huge individual performances. Abby Brown finished 20th to snare a state medal to lead the girls squad.
“Saturday was big for Abby,” Prosser said. “She had a monster race to lead the team and her 20th place finish was also a personal best time on the toughest course we’ve run all year. Madison (Bridges) and Lily (Meyer) both took their turns leading the group throughout the rest of the season and their leadership kept us in it along with huge personal bests on the course by Taryn (Compton), Sam (Ferris), and Kaydance (Bond). There were so many great personal achievements that these girls had over the course of the season, it was truly a blessing to be able to share in their story.”
Stevenson (ninth), Cannady (18th) and Luke Cotter (20th) received state medals and David Craft finished 23rd. Prosser said the senior carried the torch, but Luke and David both flipped the switch and ran their best races.
“For Jarod (Crawford) to come back from everything that has kept him out since early June and to step into that sixth spot was a big boost looking ahead to next season,” Prosser said. “Another great story is Nicholas (Schultze). He, like some of his teammates, ran his personal best on the course but I think the neatest part of it all is that his grandfather, John Schultze, is the man who started cross country at Central Heights. With everything John has done for the school, the community, and sports at CH, being able to coach his grandson is an honor.”
Girls 2A Championships
Team: 3rd Place
20th — Abby Brown (21:32)
33rd — Madison Bridges (22:08)
35th — Lily Meyer (22:19)
39th — Tary Compton (22:27)
46th — Samantha Ferris (22:44)
95th — Kaydance Bond (28:14)
Boys 2A Championships
Team: 2nd Place
9th — Tyler Stevenson (17:30)
18th — Alex Cannady (18:05)
20th — Luke Cotter (18:09)
23rd — David Craft (18:16)
27th — Mason McCurry (18:22)
82nd — Jarod Crawford (19:58)
87th — Nichlas Schultze (20:16)