Central Heights junior Taryn Compton set a lofty goal during the summer.
She wanted to make history and bring home a state medal. Compton accomplished her goal Saturday when she finished 18th at the 2A State Cross County Championships in Victoria.
Central Heights coach Troy Prosser said Compton finished off one of the most successful seasons by a female runner in the 40-plus years of the Central Heights cross country program's history.
"She absolutely cements her place as one of the best to ever wear a Vikings uniform ... and she still has another year left," Prosser said. "I can’t say how proud I am of her and her resilience over the years. She has continued to improve year after year as a runner and is equally tremendous as a person and student."
Compton ran a time of 21:01 on the 5-kilometer course.
The boys squad finished eighth at state in the team competition. Seniors David Craft and Luke Cotter finished their careers in style.
"David and Luke ended their careers with personal best times to add to their 2017 and 2019 state runner-up teams as well as their 2018 state championship team," Prosser said. "They will both graduate next spring as two of the most decorated runners in Central Heights history. The boys team again graduates another group of incredible seniors in David and Luke as well as Jesse (Warton) in his first season as an endurance runner, joining the team after missing the first seven weeks."
Prosser said the boys squad battled all season and continued to add chapters to the program’s rich history.
"Going into the weekend, we knew we weren’t positioned to equal the successes of the previous teams, but being ranked in the top 10 for five consecutive years (No. 9 after the regional meet) and finishing the season as the No. 8 team out of 64 2A schools is still a huge accomplishment," he said.
The Falcons runners gave everything all season and overcame many obstacles, The runners’ toughness shined in the 3A State Championships in Wamego.
"Warmer temperatures, strong winds, and hills galore faced the Falcon cross country runners, but they faced it head on," West Franklin coach Ryan Hahn said. "Changing the state location mid-season to a course that was unknown to the team provided an additional challenge, but we are grateful that we had the chance to compete through the end in such an uncertain season. I am beyond proud of the performances and the willpower of these athletes. The Falcon runners have brought their coaches so much joy and given us an exciting and memorable season."
Hahn said sophomore Kyle Haner and freshman Lucas Hassler proved to be among the best underclassmen at state. The coach said both runners found themselves in a dogfight for positioning throughout the race.
"For the first time this season, there were enough runners running their pace to make them be attentive to their every move," Hahn said. "They rolled over the hills, and found the grit to hold off and to pass runners on both inclines and descents."
The girls also battled running in the pack. Junior Lily Judd and sophomore Emma Bailey put themselves in a fighting position early in the race, making big moves within the first mile, Hahn said.
"The limits of their toughness was continually being tested," he said. "This incredible duo has done fantastic things during the competitive season."
Central Heights results
18, Taryn Compton, 21:01.
26, David Craft, 17:31; 33, Luke Cotter, 17:44; 57, Dakota Kuczmarski, 18:29; 86, Nicholas Schultze, 20:05; 103, Alex Skeet, 22:56; 104,vJesse Wharton, 22:58.
West Franklin results
29, Lily Judd, 22:09; 44, Emma Bailey, 22:37.
35, Kyle Haner, 18:20; 55, Lucas Hassler, 19:02.