Cross country runners face different challenges each race. The area prep runners conquered those challenges all season, including shining bright in Saturday’s regionals.
The Central Heights squads and the West Franklin girls garnered regional championships. The Viking girls and boys swept the titles on the Viking’ home course. It was the first regional championship for the Viking girls since 1992. It was the boys' third straight regional title.
The Falcon girls won the 3A regional in Garnett for the second straight year.
“The Falcons challenged each hill on the rolling terrain to chase the win,” West Franklin coach Ryan Hahn said. “I am very proud of these girls. They have shown themselves to be reliable when faced with a challenge. As the competition has risen, so have they. I am encouraged by their performances, and excited for the state championship next week.”
Central Heights coach Troy Prosser said it is hard to imagine that two years ago there was just one girl runner on the squad
“For the first time this season, we finally had all six girls as healthy has they have been as a whole and it couldn’t have happened at a better time,” he said. “Every step of the way, these girls have embraced the challenges put in front of them and they are excited about the next one.”
West Franklin’s Emma Bailey won the regional indidual title. The Falcons had five runners place in the top 25.
“At 400 meters into the race, Emma Bailey had already moved into the lead, with Bailey Leach following in second, as they have done so many times this season,” Hahn said. “Lily Judd was not far off, running in about 10th with the first runner from Anderson County right next to her. Emma extended her lead over the field, and Bailey faded slightly before rebounding and holding strong to her position for her team. Within the final mile, Lily made a move to put her into sixth. Elizabeth (Lizzy) Singer flowed past runner after runner, finding herself the top 20, and Kaitlyn Pringle made a big move from 29th to 23rd. Lily, Lizzy, and Kaitlyn all finished with season best times, and the deal was sealed.”
Prosser said Abby Brown (sixth), Taryn Compton (11th) and Samantha Ferris (14th) made huge steps from the previous weeks.
The CH boys, the defending state champions, ran a solid race. There was just a 22-second gap between the top five runners.
“The boys did a great job today and their 16-point score is the result," he said.
West Franklin freshman Kyle Haner finished eighth and qualified for state as an individual.
“As much as I wish the boys would have qualified as a team, I am still incredibly proud of them this season,” Hahn said. “Five of our seven varsity runners are underclassmen, so to come that close is a testament to the work that they have been doing. Their dedication to the sport and each other gives me a lot of hope for their future.”
West Franklin competes at Rim Rock in Lawrence, while Central Heights runs at Wamego.
2, Stevenson, 18:26; 3, Cannady, 18:29; 4, McCurry, 18:30; 5, Cotter, 18:31; 7, Craft, 18:48; 32, Crawford, 20:58; 37, Schultze, 21:20.
4, Madison, 21:48; 6, Brown, 21:57; 9, Meyer, 22:46; 11, Compton, 23:08; 14, Ferris, 23:44; 34, Bond, 26:17.
1, Bailey, 20:28; 5, Leach, 21:21; 6, Judd 21:35; 16, Singer, 23:16; 23, Pringle, 24:06.
8, Haner, 18:05; 22, King, 19:12; 30, Hatfield, 19:33; 34, Kale Link, 19:39; 46, Hassler, 20:32; 76, Pearce, 23:00; 85, Anderson, 25:57.
19, Hoehn, 19:05.1; 26, Harris, 19:22.4; 28, Brewster, 19:30.3; 41, Smith, 20:18.1; 45, Erhart, 20:31.4; 48, Dwyer, 20:34.4; 56, Dorsey, 21:09.6.
24, McDaniel, 24:21.8; 44, Peppers, 25:51.4; 49, Clary, 26:05.3; 55, Haagensen, 26:51.9; 58, Morgan Garner, 27:16.9; 60, Face, 27:31.4; 65, Laskowski, 28:38.6.
30, St. John, 19:05.56.
18, G. Stephenson, 21:15; 29, Bird, 22:27; 31, S. Atchley, 22:31; 49, M. Atchley, 22:54; 83, Huffman.