HESSTON — The Halstead High School cross country teams claimed a 1-2 finish Thursday in the Class 3-2-1A division of the Swather Special at the Hesston Golf Course.
The Halstead boys edged Southeast of Saline 22-25. Hesston was third at 48. Goessel won a three-way tie-breaker for fourth with 60 points. Berean Academy was sixth at 60. Sedgwick was 14th at 111.
In the 3-2-1A girls’ competition, Berean Academy won with seven points, followed by Halstead at 16-11 and Kiowa County at 16-23. Goessel was 10th at 31.
Bishop Carroll won the 6-5-4A girls’ title at eight points, followed by Great Bend at 39 and Newton at 44.
Dodge City won the 6-5-4A boys’ team title at 28, followed by Great Bend at 35 and Garden City at 58-16. Newton was sixth at 71.
“We were focused on what we did today,” Halstead coach Curtis Vermillion said. “It was a good day to run. A lot of our runners had PRs. We have to keep working on our preparation to be where we want to be. I was pleased with our girls. All of our girls ran well. I’m happy where they are. They improved on last week.”
“We ran well today,” Berean Academy coach Lewis Wiebe said. “The tough part is we may have been a little too rested. We got rained out our last two practices. I’m glad with the way we dove into it. Our guys also ran very well. … We only have five (boys) right now, so we have to keep everybody healthy. We’ll probably be in 1A this year. They only score four (at regional and state), so that will help the boys. Our girls have better depth. It ought to be interesting.”
“A lot of kids gained some valuable experience today,” Newton coach Richard Mick said. “We have a lot of new runners. Even some of our sophomores, juniors and seniors have never done this before. … We have a lot of injuries, a lot of kids banged up. We have to get kids healthy. Then we need to do some speed work. When we do that, you’re going to see times drop. I’m excited about what we can do.”
Because of the weather, much of the race was run on the paved cart paths. The race also had different starting and finish lines this year.
“Everybody ran on it,” Vermillion said. “It might have quickened the race. Everybody ran the same distance and has the same goal in mind.”
“It’s not as fun as running on grass, but we got the meet in,” Wiebe said. “We didn’t have to skip a meet. It’s not ideal, but I’m thankful we were able to run.”
“The biggest decision was whether or not to wear spikes. Most of our kids chose not to wear them. It was different, but I was glad to get it in. Luckily, we got it in.”
The top area finisher was Erin Topham of Berean Academy, who won the 3-2-1A senior girls’ race in 20:08.7. It was the third win for Topham, who missed the race as a sophomore.
“It was my first 5K of the season,” Topham said. “It was alright. (Pre-season) was pretty good. I’m hoping to do better than last year.”
Brooke Wiebe of Berean Academy took second in the 3-2-1A junior girls’ race in 20:36.5.
“It went pretty good, a lot better than last year,” Wiebe said. “My time was a lot better than last year. Last year, I ran a 22-something. (The pre-season) was pretty good. I got a lot more miles in than last year. I took second (in the two-mile race at Clearwater) behind Erin. I definitely want to make it to state. We have everyone returning from last year, so it will be pretty good.”
The Halstead boys were led by Andrew O’Brien, who took second in the 3-2-1A senior race in 17:20.3. O’Brien was pushed in the race by several Class 6A and 5A runners.
“It felt good to be out there again,” O’Brien said. “It’s what we work for every day in practice. (Pre-season) went well, but we still have some work to do. The classifications will have some changes. … I want to repeat as state champions and I want to keep improving my time.”
Leading the Halstead girls was Parker Schroeder, who took second in the 3-2-1A sophomore race in 21:22.4. She ran at Sedgwick last year.
“It was a PR,” Schroeder said. “It was my first meet of the year. I was ineligible last week (under the KSHSAA transfer rule). I just got released. It’s a little different (at Halstead). It’s not too bad. I want to go to state again. I’d like to keep getting PRs.”
Newton was led by Alaina Stucky, who finished second in the 6-5-4A senior race in 21:07.1.
“The weather was perfect, but running on concrete was hard on my legs,” Stucky said. “I didn’t run in my spikes. I haven’t done that since my freshman year. My PR is 19:59. I’d like to break that. I did a lot better (in the season opener) at Manhattan than I did last year. I didn’t finish at Manhattan last year because of heat stroke. I got seventh place there this year. I want to get to state again and compete for a medal.”
Class 6-5-4A girls’ winners were Hope Jackson of Bishop Carroll (freshman) in 19:36.2, Camille Behring of Bishop Carroll (sophomore) 20:54.1, Mayra Ramirez of Great Bend (junior) in 20:02.9 and Claire Winter of Bishop Carroll (senior) in 19:35.1.
Class 6-5-4A boys’ winners were Juillian Martinez of Garden City (freshman) in 18:35.3, Ryan Heline of Smoky Valley (sophomore) in 17:15.2, Noah Cole of Hutchinson (junior) 17:04.0 and Keetan Munsell of Salina South (senior) in 16:31.1.
Other 3-2-1A girls’ winners were Heidi Grimmet of Marion (freshman) in 21:15.8, Kendall Coombes of Douglass (sohomore) in 21:15.7 and Hannah Burks of Beloit (junior) in 19:56.7.
Class 3-2-1A boys’ winners were Dylan Sprecker of Southeast of Saline (freshman) in 17:51.2, Luke Gleason of Southeast of Saline (sophomore) in 17:22.3, Nicholas Martisko of Inman (junior) in 18:12.0 and Ethan Thompson of Meade (senior) in 16:19.4.
Newton and Berean Academy run Thursday at the Buhler Invitational at the Prairie Ridge Cross Country Course. Halstead and Hesston run at the Centre Invitational Thursday in Herington. Sedgwick, Goessel and Burrton run Thursday at the Bennington Invitational.