BY JIM MISUNAS
WAMEGO – Ellinwood’s Erin Hammeke picked a perfect time to run the finest cross country race of her life.
Hammeke (19:12.28) outkicked Ellis runner-up Madelyn Russell (19:20.48) and WaKeeney-Trego’s third-place Sybil Giefer (19:37.76) to join Jenna Snell (2009) and Jeanene Rugan (1990) as an Ellinwood girls state cross country champion.
“Yes, that race is definitely No. 1,” Hammeke said. “I caught the front girl when we turned into the last loop towards the finish, maybe 800 meters. It was uphill, then downhill to the finish. I felt great about my finish. I let my adrenaline push me.”
Hammeke trailed most of the race, but her consistent pace paid off.
“I kept pushing myself, knowing it would all be worth it,” Hammeke said. “I knew the pain I would feel at the time would feel completely different afterwards. The pain was temporary.”
Hammeke took advantage of a lengthy uphill stretch.
“There was a big uphill, and sometimes runners fall back,” she said. “I made sure I pushed through. I kept my legs moving quick and maintained my form steady.”
Ellinwood coach Andrew Cherry believed Hammeke had a decent chance because she faced the top runners at the Great Bend regional.
“We knew Erin had a chance because the top runners competed at our regional,” he said. “We talked about being a state champion all week. It’s all about who has the toughness at the end. She definitely had that today. She developed the right mindset to compete.”
Cherry said Hammeke ran a consistent second mile and competed on the hills.
“Erin attacks her middle mile,” Cherry said. “She runs hills really well too. She deserved it. She was fun to watch today.”
Ellinwood’s 2A regional featured the top four medal winners.
Stanton County (80) captured the 2A state title with Bennington (106) finishing runner-up. Ellinwood finished ninth (199) with 28th Ashtin Klepper, 21:52.85; 67th Brooklin Morgan, 24:05.25; 83rd Alicia Mitchell, 25:30.28; 89th Gracie Schlessiger, 26:09.91; and 94th Daphne Doll, 27:45.35, also competing. Five of six Eagles return for next year.
“It’s a tough course at Wamego,” Cherry said. “The experience gained at the state course is a great opportunity. The girls ran really well today.”
TOP 20 MEDALISTS—1—Erin Hammeke, Ellinwood, 19:12.28; 2—Russell, Ellis, 19:20.48; 3—Giefer, Trego, 19:37.76; 4—Farnham, Stanton, 19:39.61; 5—Wagner, KC Christian, 19:56.7; 6—Nelson, Lawrence Seabury, 20:05.26; 7—Dawson, Jayhawk Linn, 20:11.56; 8—Harbaugh, Bennington, 20:11.96; 9—Diercks, Hoxie, 20:27.16; 10—Grimmett, Marion, 20:44.44; 11—Stuhlsatz, Wabaunsee, 20:56.71; 12—Streit, Rossville, 21:00.7; 13—Piepho, Bennington, 21:09.78; 14—Allison, Oakley, 21:10.19; 15—Peterson, Stanton, 21:11.05; 16—Funk, Hillsboro, 21:11.29; 17—Foster, Rossville, 21:15.8; 18—Allen, Jackson Hts, 21;19.4; 19—Ornelas, Stanton, 21:28.82; 20—Brown, Central Heights, 21:32.82.
TEAM SCORES—1—Stanton Co. 80; 2—Bennington 106; 3—Central Heights 110; 4—Rossville 115; 5—Remington 133; 6—Oakley 155; 7—Jayhawk Linn 168; 8—Pittsburg Colgan 194; 9—Ellinwood 199; 10—Alma Wabaunsee 204; 11—Ellsworth 243; 12—Hutchinson Trinity 248.
ELLINWOOD—28—Ashtin Klepper, 21:52.85; 67—Brooklin Morgan, 24:05.25; 83—Alicia Mitchell, 25:30.28; 89—Gracie Schlessiger, 26:09.91; 94—Daphne Doll, 27:45.35.
TOP 20 MEDALISTS
1—Henry Nelson, Lawrence Seabury, 16:36.09
2—Trevor Pentlin, Jeff North, 17:02.3
3—Nicholas Martisko, Inman, 17:06.7
4—Daniel Little, Jackson Heights, 17:06.89
5—Isaiah Barrera, Stanton County, 17:09.0
6—Chayse McCullough, Plainville, 17:18.04
7—Asher Brown, Remington, 17:24.13
8—Morgan Becker, Canton-Galva, 17:25.19
9—Tyler Stevenson, Central Hts, 17:30.59
10—Samuel Pyle, Ellis, 17:30.72
11—Spencer Schmidt, Stanton County, 17:30.76
12—Christian Darrah, Canton-Galva, 17:34.43
13—Jackson Wallace, Skyline, 17:40.68
14—Jarreth Carrasco, Stanton County, 17:42.59
15—Andrew Bretz, Hoxie, 17:46.14
16—Henry Cloyd, McLouth, 17:58.07
17—Jared Plake, McLouth, 18:03.3
18—Alex Cannady, Central Hts, 18:05.62
19—Khristopher Giancola, Syracuse, 18:08.89
20—Luke Cotter, Central Hts, 18:09.56
1—Stanton County 40
2—Richmond-Central Heights 48
3—KC Christian 122
6—Jefferson County North 172
11—WaKeeney Trego 246
12—Olathe Heritage 255