The Newton High School cross country teams each claimed a pair of medals and punched their tickets to state with top-three finishes Saturday at the Class 5A regional meet at Centennial Park.


The Newton High School cross country teams each claimed a pair of medals and punched their tickets to state with top-three finishes Saturday at the Class 5A regional meet at Centennial Park.

The Railer boys took second while the girls finished third.

Topeka West edged the Newton boys 64-60. McPherson was third at 91. The top three teams qualify for state.

Great Bend won the girls’ title with 24 points. Hays was second at 71 and Newton in third at 72.

“We’re really pleased to get both teams to state,” Newton coach Richard Mick said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our girls. We knew they’d be right in the mix. They stepped up big. Shannon (Ahlstedt) stepped up big. Tavia’s battled some injuries but stepped up and had another big race. Ashlynn (Glann) and Amy (Kondziola) both stepped up. Three all the way down to seven was the key for us. They all had big races. They’re all very deserving.

“With the boys, I’d say we’re a little disappointed. We were hoping for a regional championship. You have to give a lot of credit to Topeka West. Their first runner was right up top. They ran a nice pack. We moved up well during the race. We didn’t get out well, but we moved up.”

Newton was led by senior Ahlstedt, who finished second in the girls’ race in 16:23.31 (4,000 meters). Rubi Torres won the race in 15:50.11.

“I felt a lot better than I did at the Newton Invitational,” Ahlstedt said. “I was with (Torres) for the first mile. She started slowing gaining. ... I kept my head up and tried to run strong. I was kind of struggling with my arms before.”

This will be Ahlstedt’s fourth year at state.

“It will be awesome to go to state as a team,” Ahlstedt said. “I just need to keep training hard. I’m excited. ... It’s a lot of fun to challenge yourself with a hard course and hard competition.”

Right behind Ahlstedt in seventh place was senior Hoheisel in 16:59.78.

“I did good,” Hoheisel said. “My goal was to qualify for state. I got seventh, so that was pretty good. ... It was so windy today.”

Hoheisel goes to state for the first time.

“It’s definitely something I haven’t been through before. I’m excited. It will be a big challenge. I like the Rim Rock course.”

Hoheisel was 28th in her division of the Rim Rock Classic earlier this season, her first time out at the state course.

“That was a big race,” Hoheisel said. “I’ve been to the course now, so I know where the hills are. That will give me an advantage.”

Glann was 14th in 17:58.53, followed by Kondziola in 22nd in 18:31.47, Abby Schrag in 27th in 18:44.85, Erin Regier in 29th in 18:54.49 and Brianna Gouvion in 39th in 19:25.62.

“I have to compliment our seniors Erin, Abby, Shannon and Tavia,” Richard Mick said. “Those girls are very deserving of everything. They have meant so much to our program.”

The Newton boys were led by senior Austin Lettau in third at 17:22.23 (5,000 meters). Michael Tegan of Topeka West won the race in 16:52.43, followed by Seth Tophoj of Hays 2.1 seconds behind.

“I had the lungs today, which was good,” Lettau said. “I got out pretty well. I got out of the pack early. I tried not to let the leaders get out of my sight.”

“Austin ran another good race for us. He was out by himself. The leaders were out in front and the pack was behind him. He did it the hard way.”

Lettau goes to state for the third time.

“I feel like I’ve gotten to know Rim Rock pretty good,” Lettau said. “I’ll probably go out a little more conservative than today. I’m looking forward to it. I’d like to medal in the top 20.”

Claiming the 10th and final medal in the boys’ race was Dilan Winter in 18:14.06.

“My training has been pretty good,” Winter said. “The coach had us prepared for this meet. It was worse when we ran here for the (Newton) invitational. It was cooler and the wind was from the north.

“I like the state course. It’s a good course. It will be my fourth time running at that course, so I know were to start running.”

Joey Greene was 16th for Newton in 18:37.75, followed by Adam Kelsey in 17th in 18:39.26, Rene Madrigal in 18th in 18:45.03, Helam Hernandez in 29th in 19:05.60 and Cody Mick in 33rd in 19:15.86.

“Adam ran a pretty good race,” Richard Mick said. “He’s been injured and taken some time off in the past few weeks. He’s new to this sport. He came up big for us today. Dilan, Rene and Helam have all been solid for us.”

The state meet is Saturday at Rim Rock Farms, north and west of Lawrence. The girls’ race is 10 a.m., followed by the boys at 11 a.m.

The Railer girls took third at state last year.

“The key for us is we’re not going to be satisfied,” Richard Mick said. “We’ll look at the other regional times and set a realistic goal for ourselves.”