Runners from the cross country team competed in the state meet last Saturday at the Wamego Country Club, in Wamego.
The team took seven varsity boys and two girls. Juniors Hayley and Heidi Roberts qualified as individuals. The runners qualified for state by placing at Regionals. For the regional and state meet the first five runners to finish counted towards team points, and the lowest combined score won. To qualify as an individual for state the runner had to finish in the top ten at Regionals.
“We did our best and we got what we got,” head coach Mike Neifert said.
The boys’ team finished eighth out of the 12 teams that competed at State. The Roberts girls finished 27 and 28 out of the 96 girls that ran. Hayley came in ahead with a time of 22:16.3, and Heidi followed directly behind with a time of 22:16.4.
“It was really hard, but I think all of us finished in a really good place,” Hayley said.
Sophomore Jackson Wallace placed 11th overall out of 108 runners for the boys. He finished with a time of 17:35.6. Wallace improved from his 19th place finish last year at State.
“Wamego is always tough,” Wallace said. “Last year it wasn’t as tough because it was really cold.”
Overall, weather conditions were pretty good Saturday. It stayed dry, which the runners enjoyed.
“It was pristine running conditions,” senior Colby Shriver said. “There was little wind and it was chilly. I wish it would have been slightly colder.”
For the three seniors Dalton Kenworthy, Erik Ghumm, and Shriver it was their last high school race.
“We had high expectations for what we should have done and I feel like we missed our shot,” senior Erik Ghumm said.
The seniors noted that the multiple talented 3A teams that dropped down to 2A earlier this year didn’t help the teams situation. That only made it harder at State. The boys explained that times were much slower than normal for the race.
“I think it is the hardest course in Kansas for high school,” Shriver said.
Overall Shriver and Ghumm were upset with how the team placed, but agreed that a lot of different factors caused this.
Neifert is very hopeful in the teams chances in the coming years. He believes that a lot of work will need to be put in by both teams but is excited for the future. Neifert also noted that the seniors that will be leaving the team will cause a big gap that will need to be filled.
“I think we have a great chance of both boys and girls going to State next year,” Neifert said.
Overall the team has improved over the last few years. The eighth place finish is a small, but mighty improvement. The last two years the boys placed ninth. The girls team has also seen improvement. They were very close to making it as a team, missing it by a mere ten points.
Boys’ State Times
Jackson Wallace 17:35.6
Jacob Swisher 18:46.2
Erik Ghumm 19:03.8
Colby Shriver 19:58.8
Keagan Davidson 20:36.5
Kyle Hampton 20:38.3
Dalton Kenworthy 21:27.1
Girls’ State Times
Hayley Roberts 22:16.3
Heidi Roberts 22:16.4