Winning one state cross country title is a challenge.
Lincoln High's Jenna Farris tripled her fun by capturing a third consecutive Class 2A cross country championship Saturday at Wamego Country Club.
Farris posted a career-best time of 15:31.9 to beat runner-up Lauren Harrell of Shawnee Maranatha (15:38.9). Farris previously posted winning times of 15:40.35 and 15:33.16 the past two years.
Farris said she felt pressure to succeed, but she reached her comfort level once the race started. Her experience of running the hilly Wamego course paid big dividends. Once she captured the lead, Farris was confident she's finish ahead.
"The race went pretty well and I got off to a good start. I felt a little more pressure this year, but my time was faster than last year and that was my No. 1 goal," Farris said. "I have experience on running the hills on this course and that definitely helped me."
Tribune-Greeley County highlighted the team competition by sweeping the Class 1A titles for the fourth time in school history.
The Berean Academy girls captured its first state cross country championship with 82 points to capture the Class 2A title. The Ellinwood girls claimed a runner-up finish with 91 points, winning a tiebreaker with Shawnee Maranatha on sixth-place runner Chelsea Kasper.
Berean's girls had never qualified for state cross country until last year's third-place finish behind Shawnee Maranatha and Ellinwood.
Counting for Berean were Wendy Busenitz, 11th (16:09.4); Emily Wiebe, 16th (16:23.8); Tiffany Wiebe, 19th (16:25.5); Janet Busenitz, 31st (17:18.8); and Katelyn Entz, 42nd (17:45.1); with Lydia Newby, 43rd (17:45.3); and Carissa Slabach, 44th (17:45.4) right behind.
"I am definitely blessed to coach these girls," said Berean coach Mark Anderson. "It is amazing what these girls have accomplished the past two years. We talked about running your own race and these girls did a great job of pacing themselves and running these hills really well. This is the best race the girls have run all season. It was definitely a nice team effort."
Ellinwood won a tiebreaker and finished as State runner-up for the third straight year. Ellinwood's Jenna Snell captured her fourth state medal with a ninth-place finish (15:51.9). Snell captured the Class 3A state title as a freshman and finished runner-up, fifth and ninth the past three years.
CLASS 2A BOYS
The Ellinwood Eagles captured their second consecutive Class 2A boys team title.
State runner-up Pedro Montoya (16:25.1) led the Eagles to back-to-back state titles as he finished behind Dray Carson of Ness City (16:13.2).
Ellinwood finished with 56 points and Stanton County scored 74 points.
Carson had lost to Montoya at regionals, but ran a perfect race to hand Montoya his first loss of the season. Montoya beat Carson at Class 2A regionals by more than 40 seconds. Carson took the lead after the first mile and a half and never looked back.
"I ran an amazing race, the best of the year," Carson said. "I was a little surprised by my lead. But the last three nights, this is the race I kept running in my mind."
Montoya said a fast early pace and strong finish was not quite enough to beat Carson. It marked the first race he had not won all season.
"I ran a good first mile and ran a PR (personal record)," Montoya said. "But I thought maybe I came out too fast and maybe should've backed off a little bit. Our team came through for us today."
Ellinwood coach Lyles Lashley said Carson pushed the pace after the first mile and Montoya was never able to catch him.
"The reason we won state was because of Pedro," Lashley said. "Pedro's hard work paid off. He's had a great year and performed awfully well."
Also counting for the Eagles were Morgan Feemster, 9th (17:17.7); Kyle Oglesbee, 13th (17:39.7); Kyle Blakeslee, 26th (18:05.6); and Derek Ward, 39th (18:26.0). Avery Pike finished 61st (18:54.0).
"The guys competed well and ran their hearts out," Lashley said. "They went out hard and paid for it a little bit in the middle. You have to hit it hard on this course because you can get stuck in some of those difficult cutoffs."
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Tribune-Greeley County captured the Class 1A girls team title for the fifth time with a score of 37 points to beat Axtell (59) and Olpe (60).
The Jackrabbits were led by fifth-place finisher Coraima Yanez (16:34.0) and sixth-place finisher Kelli Holthaus (16:35.4) and also counted Kashli Holthaus, 18th (17:09.6) and Brooke Wineinger, 37th (18:09.5). Yanitza Yanez, 61st (21:04.1) also competed.
"My girls ran really pretty good and continued to improve," said Tribune coach Greg Cook. "Our No. 2 and 3 runners ran really well and picked up a couple of points. Our No. 4 runner ran where we anticipated. Our fifth runner had a personal record."
The Jackrabbits has won the state title four of the past five years and finished runner-up in 2011. Cook colored his mustache blue when he lost a friendly wager with the girls after they outperformed expectations.
"You do whatever motivates the girls. That tradition helps tremendously," said Cook. "They want that winning tradition to continue. They are already thinking about next year and what girls they can talk into coming out."
Axtell's Audrey Schmitz matched the feat of Farris by capturing her third consecutive Class 1A state cross country championship (15:49.1) that matched her winning times of 15:48.99 and 15:51.91. Taylor Tustin of
Wheatland-Grinnell was runner-up (16:04.2).
"It was pretty cool to do this in front of all my friends and family because everyone was there for me," Schmitz said. "I ran like I was scared. I was happy with the way I competed."
CLASS 1A BOYS
Tribune-Greeley County captured the Class 1A boys team title for the sixth time with 34 points to beat Pike Valley (44) and Victoria (62). The Jackrabbits have captured three of the past four titles and finished runner-up in 2011.
Troy Wineinger placed third (17:00.1) and Miguel Trejo placed ninth (17:48.3) to go along with Sergio Trejo, 15th (18:05.1) and Martin Veleta, 23rd (18:32.4). Also running were Isaac Stone, 37th (19:21.2); Casey Randolph, 57th (19:57.8) and A.J. Govert, 59th (20:00.4).
"We got really great races from our No. 2, 3 and 4 runners," said Tribune coach Greg Cook, who earned his fourth boys state crown. "The boys and the girls both know our tradition and want to keep it going. They get out and cheer for each other and encourage each other."
Centralia's Lucas Koch sprinted to a fast pace on the first hill and never looked back (16:16.0), well ahead of runner-up Caden Callaway of Pike Valley (16:50.1). Koch had finished runner-up in 2011.
"The race went exactly like I had hoped," Koch said. "I got off to a great start on the first hill and maintained my pace. I liked the cool weather today. It was a perfect day for running today."
CLASS 4A BOYS
Winfield's Josh Hanna set a red-hot pace with the finest race of the day (15:46.1) to outrun Angel Vasquez of DeSoto (15:54.7), the defending Class 4A champion. Hanna kept pace with Vasquez, then finished with an impressive kick in the final 800 meters.
Hanna placed third in Class 5A last year at Lawrence's Rim Rock, an equally challenging course. Hanna also beat Vasquez head-to-head at Rim Rock earlier this fall.
"Wamego is rated just as tough as Rim Rock," Hanna said. "I wanted to stay with Angel Vasquez and try and outrace him at the end. I passed him in the final 800. It worked out perfect today. I knew Angel would be a great runner at state."
The Wamego boys defended their Class 4A state title with 69 points that edged Mulvane (74) and DeSoto (92).
Mulvane's Ren Beam placed third (16:03.4) and Kyle Spotts finished 11th (16:50.0) and Liam Trooien-Smith 15th (17:00.6). Also running were Miles Hilger, 25th (17:16.4); Levi Carver, 31st (17:23.4); Luca Trooien-Smith, 43rd (17:48.6); and Tom Garate, 53rd (17:57.4).
CLASS 4A GIRLS
Fort Scott's Katren Reinbolt won the Class 4A girls championship (14:50.2) by beating runner-up Paige White of Baxter Springs (15:28.4) by more than 38 seconds. Hesston's Mikala Heddin finished third (15:40.8).
Reinbolt wanted to push the pace at the start and achieved her goal on the first hill.
"There are so many great runners, I knew I wanted to get a great start and get in the front of the pack," Reinbolt said. "I knew I could finish in the top couple of runners. It felt good running today. Everything went by really fast today. It was a great day for me."
The Topeka Hayden girls captured the Class 4A team title (69) ahead of Winfield (92) and Baldwin (106).
Winfield was paced by eighth-place finisher Madison Pollock (15:54.0) along with Hannah Wingert, 19th (16:09.8); Taylor Spencer, 21st (16:12.7); and Courtney Griffits, 34th (16:28.5). Also running were Caitlyn Dougherty, 47th (16:42.3); and Carrie McNutt, 52nd (16:51.8).