Prep runners, teams shine in league races

Greg Mast
The West Franklin boys cross country team won the Flint Hills League championship Thursday. Team members are Timothy Pearce, Kale Link, Kyle Haner, Nicholas Hatfield, Nathan Hassler, Martir Caceres-Ramos and Lucas Hassler.

Area high school cross country teams and runners had banner days Thursday in the league meets.

The West Franklin boys were crowned the Flint Hills League champs with their performance.

The Central Heights boys finished second in the Pioneer League race. Both girls squad runners had high places.

Nearly every runner for both squads turned in personal bests.

“The Flint Hills League Cross Country Championship was as exciting as promised for the West Franklin Falcons,” WF coach Ryan Hahn said.

Central Height coach Troy Prosser said the Vikings found an extra gear.

“(Thursday) was a great day for a run and the kids did an unbelievable job putting it all together,” Prosser said. “I can't say how excited I was to see how well everyone performed and the fact that 15 of the kids came out with personal-best times shows how focused they really were.”

The West Franklin boys knew they were in for a battle, Hahn said.

“The camaraderie on the team has been off the charts,” he said. “Pair that with their willingness to endure the intense pain of racing for the sake of their teammates, and it is clear that this team is something special. Each and every one of them ran lifetime bests in this 5K race.”

Prosser said all the runners made positive steps forward.

“The varsity boys had huge improvements across the board once again being led by the seniors Luke (Cotter), David (Craft), and (freshman) Dakota (Kuczmarski), all found an extra spark individually,” he said.

The West Franklin boys placed six runners in the top 20 en route to the title. Kyle Haner led the Falcons in third. Lucas Hassler took 11th.

Central Heights was paced by Luke Cotter (fifth) and David Craft (eighth).

The Falcon girls placed three runners in the top six.

“With only three team members, they would not be able to defend their league title for the third consecutive year, but that did not stop them from making a dramatic statement,” Hahn said.

Lily Judd finished second , breaking the 21-minute mark for the first time in her career. Emma Bailey finished fifth and freshman Hope Crabtree was sixth with a season-best time.

Central Heights’ Taryn Compton finished third in her race.

“Taryn has just been amazing this season and had her highest league finish in her career,” Prosser said.

Central Heights


3rd - Taryn Compton, (21:32) - PR; 17th - Cheyenne Higbie (26:05) - PR.


5th - Luke Cotter (17:45) - PR; 8th - David Craft (18:04) - PR;12th - Dakota Kuczmarski (18:36); 21st - Nicholas Schultze (19:55) - PR; 35th - Alex Skeet (23:09) - PR; 39th - Jesse Wharton (24:46) - PR


2nd - Melaney Chrisjohn (13:10) - PR;11th - Arabella Dunbar (15:30) - PR.


1st - Connor Burkdoll (11:11) - PR; 4th - Cody Hammond (11:54) - PR; 5th - Owen Miller (11:58) - PR; 7th - Aydan Dunbar (12:40) - PR; 15th - Hunter Johnson (13:56); 16th - Aidan Howland (14:08) - PR; 23rd - Cash Miller (15:49) - PR.

West Franklin

High School Girls

Lily Judd (2nd, 20:57); Emma Bailey (5th, 22:46); Hope Crabtree (6th, 23:01).

High School Boys (First)

Kyle Haner (3rd, 17:31); Lucas Hassler (11th, 18:12); Kale Link (14th, 18:39); Nathan Hassler (15th, 18:46); Nicholas Hatifield (17th, 18:53); Martir Caceres-Ramos (20th, 19:48); Timothy Pearce (30th, 20:52).

Middle School Girls

Mackenzie Walter (7th, 14:53); Lydia Carroll (8th, 14:55); Sarah Voth (12th, 15:38); Mya Crabtree (17th, 16:31); Sarah Wright (19th, 16:51); Katie Carroll (23rd, 18:34).

Middle School Boys

Hunter Bailey (2nd, 11:12); Coy Link (29th, 18:14); Abe Link (25th, 16:28); Bryce Link (32nd, 21:26).


Boys Varsity (Fifth)

Zeb Harris ,18:34.3, 12th (All-Pioneer League Second Team); Dawson Dwyer, 18:53.0, 17th; Ian Smith ,19:00.3, 19th; Liam Robertson 20:08.9, 36th ;Aistin Henry, 20:24.4, 37th; Will Stanton, 20:39.2, 38th; Coy Jones, 20:49.2, 39th; Damen Eiche, 20:51.5, 40th; Carson Richardson, 21:38.4, 44th; Ty Weekes, 24:03.0, 62nd; Derek Ashburn, 24:06.4, 63rd.

Girls Varsity

Lexi McDaniel, 25:20.0, 28th; Madison Norman, 26:54.5, 36th; Shayla Clarym 28:41.4, 39th.

Seventh Grade Girls

Ellie Strain, 15:13.2, 1st (Pioneer League Champion); Allison Hayes, 18:40.1, 8th.