BY JIM MISUNAS
LAKE BARTON – Great Bend's cross country runners saw a pair of state cross country champions up close at Thursday's Great Bend Cross Country Invitational.
Wichita Carroll's 5A state champion Hope Jackson (19:29.97) and Buhler's 4A state champion Tanner Lindahl (16:33.5) showed why they're state-caliber runners with gold-medal wins. Race conditions were superb with mid-80 degree temperatures spiced by a northerly breeze.
Great Bend Panther runner-up Kaiden Esfeld (17:03.57) and third-place medalist Emilia Diaz (20:46.88) proved they'll be regional contenders and state qualifiers.
"It was fun to welcome teams like Carroll and Buhler compete," said Great Bend coach Lyles Lashley. "Anytime, you're competing against state champions, it'll make you better."
Lindahl forced a fast first mile and Esfeld stayed within reasonable range.
"The start was faster than what I thought it would be," Esfeld said. "Overall, the race went pretty good. I'm pretty happy with my time. I'll run better. I was psyching myself out a little. Eventually, everyone got spaced out really well."
"Lindahl made a big move early," Lashley said."Kaiden beat the Carroll runner Carson McEachern, who placed fifth in 5A last year. Kaiden's in good shape."
Carroll (41) finished first and 4A state champion Buhler (47) was runner-up. The Panthers counted 16th-place Apollos Johnson, 18:42.69; 23rd-place Malachi Wasson, 19:06.51; 31st-place Matthew Huslig, 19:28.23; and 34th-place Brody Feist, 19:38.06.
"It was fun to see parents see their kids have fun running today," Lashley said. "We were excited how everyone ran. Apollos Johnson ran a great race. He's got a positive attitude."
Carroll's Jackson and Buhler's Leah Bentley (20:41.42) finished ahead of Diaz, who was pleased with her run.
"At the start, I needed to relax a little," Diaz said. "I was pleased. At the end, I kicked it in really good when everyone was closing in. We were pleased we could finish second as a team. The Carroll girl is really a good runner. Running conditions were good. The north wind really helped the runners today."
Wichita Carroll (30) finished first with Great Bend (55) edging 4A state champion Buhler (59) for second place.
Sixth-place medalist Emma Loomis (21:23.76) was followed by 12th-place Morgan Beckwith, 21:53.06; 15th-place Eliana Jackson, 22:14.15; and 21st-place Addy Nicholson, 22:54.49.
"Emilia ran a really smart race. The girls team ran really well," Lashley said. "We threw our three freshmen in there, and they finished in our top five, which is great to see. Emma Loomis ran her best race. The girls responded with a really good race. It was great to beat Buher. It's always a close race when we compete against Buhler."
GREAT BEND INVITE
GIRLS TEAM SCORES–1–Wichita Carroll 30; 2–Great Bend 55; 3–Buhler 59; 4–Hays High 93; 5–Salina South 116; 6–Garden City 139
GIRLS TOP 10–1–Hope Jackson, Carroll, 19:29.97; 2–Leah Bentley, Buhler, 20:41.42; 3–Emilia Diaz, GB, 20:46.88; 4–Landon Forbes, Carroll, 21:52.18; 5–Jocelyn Sosa, GC, 21:14.93; 6–Emma Loomis, GB, 21:23.76; 7–Cameron Pascal, Carroll, 21:29.61; 8–Ava Dugan, Carroll, 21:33.64; 9–Amelia Jaeger, Hays, 21:35.1; 10–Sofia Wendell, Carroll, 21:39.19.
GREAT BEND RESULTS–12–Morgan Beckwith, 21:53.06; 15–Eliana Jackson, 22:14.15; 21–Addy Nicholson, 22:54.49; 34–Haley McCormick, 24:02.5
BOYS TEAM SCORES–1–Wichita Carroll 41; 2–Buhler 47; 3–Garden City 81; 4–Great Bend 100; 5–Hays High 130; 6–McPherson 137; 7–Salina South 183
BOYS TOP 10 MEDALISTS–1–Tanner Lindahl, Buhler, 16:33.5; 2–Kaiden Esfeld, GB, 17:03.57; 3–Carson McEachern, Carroll, 17:13.04; 4–Cole Waymire, Carroll, 17:21.54; 5–Brody Hoff, GC, 17:42.96; 6–Devin Chappel, GC, 17:50.59; 7–Cody Achilles, McPherson, 17:57.61; 8–Kaden Lohrentz, Buhler, 18:11.49; 9–Zeke Howey, Carroll, 18:21.56; 10–Spencer Hines, Buhler, 18:29.86
GREAT BEND RESULTS–16–Apollos Johnson, 18:42.69; 23–Malachi Wasson, 19:06.51; 31–Matthew Huslig, 19:28.23; 34–Brody Feist, 19:38.06; 48–Braden Suppes, 21:28.37
JUNIOR VARSITY GIRLS–1–Jaycine Watson, Hays, 23:52.45; 2–Nayeli Cisneros, Hays, 23:34.32; 3–Jayla Gore, Buhler, 24:40.5; 4–Avery Winter, Hays, 24:42.27; 5–Sam Orozco, GC, 24:55.07
GREAT BEND RESULTS–9–August Siefkes, 25:29.51; 16–Brooklyn Ramsey, 26:24.4; 26–Amy To, 28:07.58; 30–Anna Campbell, 29:02.65
7TH GRADE GIRLS 1 mile–1–Yaritza Sosa, GC, 6:50.0; 2–Are Maupin,Hays, 6:52.48; 3–Brecken Dewald, Hays, 7:10.96; 4–Cara Cunningham, 7:11.72; 5–Addyson Bruce, GB, 7:12.31
GREAT BEND RESULTS–6–Kaylea McMullen, 7:12.48; 11–Aliya Johnson, 7:30.15; 18–Josephine Blevins, 8:07.76; 23–Kaylee Haag,8:32.24
8TH GRADE GIRLS 2 miles–1–Diane Alvarez, GB, 13:28.26; 2–Natalie Guevaro, GC, 14:00.07; 3–Ashley Alonso, DC, 14:07.84; 4–Darcy Feist, GB, 14:27.7; 5–Betsy Marquina, DC, 14:28.52
GREAT BEND RESULTS–6–Marissa Boone, 14:38.84; 12–Kate Welcher, 16:07.73; 21–Makayla Smith, 18:42.7; 24–Mayra Gonzalez, 18:49.91; 25–Diana Piedra, 19:29.45; 31–Reagan Ketch, 20:25.14
HOISINGTON RESULT–40–Alexia Neas, 26:27.52
8TH GRADE BOYS 2 miles–1–Austin Lindahl, Buhler, 11:56.22; 2–Kyler Holinde, GB, 12:12.48; 3–Tae Maupin, Hays, 12:21.63; 4–Kam Tarlton, Hays, 12:45.84; 5–Cody Bunce, Buhler, 12:54.17
GREAT BEND RESULTS–9–Trenton Peterson, 13:10.76; 16–Alcirako Dickerson, 14:04.71; 46–A.J. Thurman, 31:16.89
7TH GRADE BOYS 1 mile–1–Trevor Fry, GC, 6:03.69; 2–Imael Rarimez, GB, 6:24.76; 3–Dayton Schmidtberger, Hays, 6:34.63; 4–Brantley Vsetecka, GB, 6:35.42; 5–Dom Hernandez, Hays, 6:36.55
GREAT BEND RESULTS–6–Ethan Somers, 6:38.76; 11–Joshua Manning, 6:53.22; 32–Alexis Ayala, 11:18.72
HOISINGTON RESULT–23–Kyler Jensen, 7:47.91