Goessel runners shoot for return to state

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
The 2021 Goessel High School cross country team.

Who to watch for:

• Senior Jacob Schmidt

• Senior Ben Olson

Coach's pick for top opponents:

WSL — Canton-Galva boys.


Sept. 2 @ Abilene Inv. (Great Life Golf & Fitness) 4 p.m.

Sept. 9 @ Swather Special, Hesston GC 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 @ Bennington Inv. 3:45 p.m.

Sept. 23 @ Marion Inv. 4 p.m.

Sept. 30 @ Berean Academy Inv. (Harvey County East Park) 4 p.m.

Oct. 7 @ Burrton Inv. (Harvey County West Park) 4 p.m.

Oct. 14 WSL-HOAL @ Harvey County West Park 4 p.m.

Oct. 23 Regionals TBA

Oct. 30 State @ Wamego CC TBA

GOESSEL — The Goessel Bluebird cross country team will be have 15 runners — seven boys and eight girls — giving the team the depth to try and defend its Wheat State League and return to state.

Brian Lightner returns for his seventh year as the Bluebird head coach. He is assisted by Donna Washmon.

Last season, the Goessel boys were sixth at Class 1A state, second at regionals and first in the WSL. The girls were first in the WSL and fifth at regionals.

Returning letterwinners for the boys include seniors Ben Olson, Jacob Schrag, Timothy Schrag and sophomore Javin Schmidt. All four were state qualifiers, led by Jacob Schrag, who finished 37th.

“Top three returners for the boys team are Jacob, Timothy, and Ben with 2020 season bests of 18:15, 19:03, and 19:09 respectively,” Lightner said. “The boys’ will be looking to improve on the 1A sixth place finish last year. We have three experienced seniors to help lead the team and will continue to develop all runners throughout the season. We hope to defend our league title with a very significant challenger in Canton-Galva who has very good and young runners as well. If we are able to get four runners under 19:00, we hope to make a return trip to the state meet and make a push for the podium.”

Returning letterwinners for the girls were senior Alyssa Boden and sophomore Braylynn Hoopes.

“The top three girls returners are Cheyenne (Sawyer), Braylynn and Alyssa with 2020

season bests of 25:07, 27:19 and 28:06 respectively. These are the only returning girls and we have a several new girls that will be running this year to help fill out a team. We will be very inexperienced this year and we can look forward to consistent improvement throughout the season. We hope to be healthy and full strength by the end of the season in order to defend our league title and qualify for the state meet.

“Our motto this year is ‘Be B.O.L.D.,’ and our goal as a team is to have courage and strength to do the right thing at the right time. We will be learning that it’s the little things that lead to big successes and encouraging each other to do the right thing whether we’re on a run, in a race, in the classroom or anywhere else. We are wanting to maintain and develop our family atmosphere where we look out for one another and encourage each other so that everyone can feel comfortable taking risks and challenging themselves physically, mentally and socially in the races and in their lives. I hope that through a dedicated commitment to a solid training program each runner will experience their own version of success and will be satisfied with their effort at the end of the season.”

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com