Berean boys claim repeat

Rick Peterson Jr.

VICTORIA — The Berean Academy boys cross country team didn’t let a little bit of adversity derail its quest for a second straight state championship.

The Warriors weren’t quite at 100 percent for Saturday’s state meet at Sand Plum Nature Trail, but they were in good enough shape to capture another title.

Berean claimed the 2A crown with a score of 54. Stanton County was second with 62.

“I felt like we had a good chance,” Berean coach Lewis Wiebe said. “We knew Stanton was going to be good, McLouth and KC Christian were going to be good. We had a couple injuries with our 2 and 3 runners late in the year that we were really concerned about, but they kind of gutted it out and got through it.”

Sophomore Andrew Harder led Berean with a fifth-place finish in 16:47.5.

“I was kind of nervous .. this was my first state race,” said Harder, who was out with an injury last year. “The hills were pretty steep in some parts, so that was a little nerve-racking. But I actually almost got a PR, so I was really happy with the time.”

Harder said he picked it up as the race progressed.

“Starting off, I was really nervous because I think I was in like 25th or 30th place,” Harder said. “It was a hard start. But throughout the race, we slowly picked it up and passed people.”

Gavin Tucker (17:04) was 10th for Berean, while Eli Nord (17:06.4) was 13th and Andrew Janzen (17:32.3) took 27th.

“Our depth has been very good and they’ve bunched together good,” Wiebe said of his team.

It was a new venue for the state meet after 2A and 1A were held at Wamego last year. Berean won the 1A title last year.

“I had kind of heard it was a flat course, but it had some pretty good ups and downs,” Wiebe said of Sand Plum. “They said it was tough. They didn’t think it was as tough as Wamego, but it was a neat course. I liked it.”

Wiebe said the Warriors felt fortunate not only to claim another state championship, but also just to get a chance to compete after the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“There’s just so many things that have to go right (to win two straight titles),” Wiebe said. “I’m just thankful we had the opportunity to come compete. We didn’t know first day of practice if we’d have this opportunity. I’m just glad KSHSAA pushed so we could make this possible.”

The Berean girls took ninth out in the Class 2A competition.

The Warriors were led by Sonya Zimmerman (21st, 21:07.1), followed by Tayana Nord (33rd, 21:49.9, Teagan Smith (41st, 22:07.7), Katherine Harris (82nd, 24:52.2), Abigale Evans (89th, 26:04.6), Mia Krebs (91st, 26:36.7) and Johanna Smith (96th, 27:12.1).

The Remington girls were the state runner-up in Class 2A, falling to Stanton County 48-83.

The Broncos were led by Lucy Brown, who medaled in 11th in 20:35.4. Other Remington runners were Alli Willour (22nd, 21:13.0), Ellie Van Zeflden (23rd, 21:19.0), Audrey Van Zelfden (30th, 21:44.4), Ava Klaassen (44th, 22:12.3) and Macy Brown (80th, 24:29.5).

The Remington boys finished 10th. Running for the Broncos were Wyatt Wright (21st, 17:15.5), Asher Brown (59th, 18:32.8), Andrew Peters (63rd, 18:47.3), Matthew Peters (93rd, 20:58.8), Luke Bumm (95th, 21:05.9), Samuel Schmidt (99th, 21:28.1) and Rex Wagner (100th, 21:28.1).

In the Class 1A boys’ race, Goessel placed sixth. Running for the Bluebirds were Jacob Schrag (37th, 18:55.2), Dawson Duerksen (41st, 19:08.9), Ben Olson (46th, 19:22.0), Timothy Schrag (19:23.6), David Sawyer (69th, 21:18.0) and Javin Schmidt (81st, 23:00.6).

Burrton claimed a medal when Lucas Lies finished 19th in 17:46.6.