WAMEGO – It’s a challenge to win a state cross country championship – just ask Ellinwood coach Lyles Lashley or Macksville coach Mike Hullman.
Class 2A state runner-up Ellinwood (72) finished behind juggernaut Shawnee Maranatha Academy (32) and Class 1A runner-up Macksville finished second (43) behind perennial champion Tribune-Greeley County (39).
In the individual races, Ellinwood’s Abbie Reichuber finished eighth (15:57.9) to lead the Eagles. Reichuber also won the league title at Kinsley.
“It was one of my better races of the year,” Reichuber said. “From what I saw, our girls did really well today. I was proud of my teammates today. Joanna Strecker is usually our first girl to finish.”
The Eagle girls finished as state runner-up for the fourth time in school history with some of the fastest times they’ve ever recorded at the state meet.
Ellinwood’s other runners were Joanna Strecker, 10th (16:20.8); Madeline Hayes, 15th (16:42.8); Cailey Carmen, 20th (16:51.5); McKenna Rugan, 24th (17:01.7); Chelsea Kasper, 53rd (18:15.5); and Anna Fisher, 58th (18:38.1). All of the Ellinwood runners return next season. Four girls finished in the top 20, a school record.
“The girls ran great. We’ve never had two girls under 17 minutes and we had five girls under 17:01,” Lashley said. “It was a beautiful day to run – the wind was down and it was cool. The girls all ran well together on the same day.”
Tribune Greeley County captured its third consecutive Class 1A championship, six in the past seven years and seventh title in the past nine years.
But the Mustangs hung tough with every Greeley County runner. Elizabeth Penner led the Mustangs with a fourth-place finish (16:44.9). Penner improved her time by 20 seconds from last year’s sixth-place finish.
Macksville’s Emma Stimatze finished 16th (17:30.9). Other Mustang runners were Eunice Esparza, 29th (18:32.1); Hilda Lopez, 39th (18:54.6); Margaretha Penner, 43rd (19:04.8); Bethany Esparza, 49th (19:38.7); and Susanna Penner, 65th (21:11.0).
St. Paul’s Jenny O’Bryan defended her state title (15:46.0) by beating Taylor Tustin (16:04.2) of Grainfield-Wheatland by 18 seconds.