LAKE AFTON — The Halstead High School and Hesston High School boys’ cross country teams are headed to state after a 1-3 finish at the Class 3A regionals Saturday at Lake Afton, west of Goddard.
Halstead, the defending Class 3A state champion, edged Hugoton, the third-place team in Class 4A last season and the defending 3A champs two year ago 59-60. Hesston took third at 80 points.
“For the sixth year in a row, the Halstead boys’ cross country team has qualified for the state meet,” Halstead coach Curtis Vermillion said. “In addition, by placing first, the boys have been name rgegional champions for the fourth time in the past five years. We are excited to have achieved a team goal of qualifying for state, and are thankful to be making the trip back to the state meet at Rim Rock next weekend. We were disappointed that we did not get the full girls’ team qualified, but did have two individual girl runners qualify. It was a beautiful fall morning for running, with temperatures in the upper 50s, sunny skies and no wind. Ideal.”
Kingman runners took the top two spots — Teagan Flanagan winning in 16:30 and Robert Pearce taking second in 16:53. Jacob Eckert of Hugoton was third at 17:20.
Halstead claimed a pair of medals — Andrew O’Brien in fifth in 17:37 and Joshua Talbott in seventh at 17:52.
Other Halstead runners included Hayden Davis in 11th at 18:06, one spot and eight seconds out of medal contention. Dawson Driskill was 17th in 18:32, followed by Isaac Radke in 26th in 19:05, Sebastian Horn in 37th in 19:26 and Gage Carr in 51st in 20:03.
“We had won regional last year on the same course,” Vermillion said. “This group of young men is very deserving to run at the state meet. It was not an easy win, as our guys were able to
beat Hugoton by only one point. We did have a great team effort. … We will continue to focus on ‘team’ this week, and work on preparing to run against a tough 3A field next week at state. We
believe we have the ability to defend our state championship from last year, but will need to run better to make it a reality. We must pack better and lessen the time between our top five scorers. I feel we also need the top sixth and seventh runners next week in a strong field of runners.”
The Hesston boys were led by Johnny Wang, who placed ninth in 17:56. James Peters finished three spots and 18 seconds out of a medal in 13th in 18:16.
Jimmy Wang was 16th in 18:29, followed by Jeb Carlson in 20th in 18:46, Carter Funk in 30th in 19:10, Joey Kueker in 33rd in 19:12 and Noah LeFevre in 54th in 20:09.
The Halstead girls placed sixth in the team standings. Hugoton won at 63, followed by Cimarron at 85 and Douglass at 87. Halstead scored 115 points.
The Halstead girls claimed two medals — Parker Schroeder in eighth in 21:54 and Kaia Siebert in ninth in 21:55. Both qualify for state as individuals.
Lydia Johnson was 28th in 24:06, followed by Katelyn Drake in 47th in 26:47. Leah Weber in 50th in 27:04 and Holli Black in 54th in 27:53.
“We knew going into the meet that it would be very difficult for the full girls’ team to qualify, and that is how it played out,” Vermillion said. “However, Parker Schroeder
(8th) and Kaia Siebert (9th) both qualified, by placing in the top 10 individually.”
Hesston had no girls running.
The Class 3A state meet is Saturday at Rim Rock Farms northwest of Lawrence. The girls’ race is at 10:35 a.m. and the boys’ race is at 12:20 p.m.
“The Lake Afton course was a more challenging course than we have seen in a while, but is still tough to compare to what is to come,” Vermillion said. “We know from past years, the state meet held at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence, is a monster. It is one of the top rated cross country courses in the nation. We hope our experience from last year will serve us well and help these young teams to represent themselves, the school, and the communities of Halstead and Bentley in a respectable manner.”