Young talented runners highlight 2021 Herald All-Area boys cross country team

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

New talent emerged for area high school boys cross country teams in 2021.

Four freshmen and a first-year runner led their teams this season. Eight of the 12-member 2021 Ottawa Herald All-Area team were first-year selections.

The 2021 Ottawa Herald All-Area boys cross country team members are, front row (from left), Trevor Kaub, Ottawa; Hunter Bailey, West Franklin; Kyle Haner, Lucas Hassler, West Franklin; Brady Fitzenmaier, Ottawa; second row, Nicholas Schultz, Central Heights; Cody Hammond, Central Heights; Connor Burkdoll, Central Heights Owen Miller, Central Heights; back row, Kale Link, West Franklin; Nathan Hassler, West Franklin; Martir Caceres-Ramos, West Franklin; and Nash McDaniel, Wellsville.

Here are the 2021 Ottawa Herald All-Area team members:

Connor Burkdoll, Fr., CH

Burkdoll performed like a seasoned veteran in his first varsity season. He led the Viking boys in every race this season. He was a consistent top-five finisher, lowering his personal-best times throughout the season. He won his first varsity race in the Central Heights race. He finished fifth at league, third at regional and 13th at state to earn a state medal.

Cody Hammond, Fr., CH

Hammond joined Burkdoll at the top of races all season. He pushed for top-10 medals in each race. His top finish was fourth at the regional race on the Central Heights course. He took eighth at league and 26th at state.

Owen Miller, Fr., CH

Miller gave the Vikings three young runners to build around. He had a solid first varsity season. He consistently had top-15 finishes. His top finish was 10th in the home meet. He was 12th at league, 15th at regional and 30th at state.

Nicholas Schultze, Jr., CH

Schultze came into his own this season. He became a stronger and smarter runner throughout the season. His top finish was 12th at Pleasanton. He came in 24th in the league and regional races and 60th at state.

Brady Pfitzenmaier, Sr., Ottawa

Pfitzenmaier had a strong senior season as he was in the running for medals in each race. His top finish of his career was second at the OHS Invitational on one of the toughest courses in the state. He concluded his career by taking 18th at the league race and 19th at regional.

Trevor Kaub, Jr., Ottawa

Kaub also put together a strong season that saw him improve greatly throughout the season. He finished third in the home meet, which set him up for a solid finish. He took 13th at league and 20th in the regional race.

Nash McDaniel, So., Wellsville

McDaniel may have found his fall sport — cross country — after playing football as a freshman. McDaniel was not new to the sport as his sisters were stars. He was in the running for medals all season. He ran well in the big meets. He was the Pioneer League individual champion. He finished 10th at Wamego against the top runners in the state. He finished fifth at the home meet. He was 11th in the Sabetha regional.

Hunter Bailey, Fr., WF

Bailey made a successful jump from middle school to the high school varsity team. He immediately rose to the top and was one of the best freshmen runners in 3A. He helped the boys team qualify for state and take sixth. He medaled in each race this season. He finished third at league, fourth in the regional race and 19th at state for a state medal.

Kyle Haner, Jr., WF

Haner’s experience rubbed off on Bailey. Haner continued his strong career with top places in each meet this season. His best finish was second at Silver Lake. He was a steady guiding force behind the Falcons’ best season in program history. He took fourth in the league race, fifth in regional and 28th at state. It was his third state race. He is a three-time all-area selection.

Lucas Hassler, So., WF

Hassler built upon his solid freshman campaign. He gave the Falcons three top runners all season. His best finish was fourth at the home meet. His strong races in postseason helped the boys achieve league and regional championships. He came in ninth at league, 15th at regional and 35th at state. He is a two-time all-area selection.

Nathan Hassler, Sr., WF

Hassler finished his career with a bang. He gave the Falcons depth in the middle of the pack. He ran a personal-best 18:32 this season.  He finished 18th at league, 50th in the regional race and 86th at state. He is a two-time all-area selection.

Kale Link, Sr., WF

Link has always given the Falcons scoring depth throughout his career in the fourth or fifth position. He kept lowering his times this season to a career-best 18:44. He took 20th at league, 32nd at the regional and 81st at state. He is a two-time all-area performer.

Martir Caceres-Ramos, Jr., WF

Caceres-Ramos made a big jump this season, improving his times throughout the season. He made a 50-second jump at the Osage City race. He was a steady runner throughout his career. He was 16th at league, placed 36th at regional and 72nd at state.