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Great Bend girls dominate Buhler meet
Great Bend Panthers Marissa Boone (3124), Sienna Smith (3123), Makenzie Premer (3129), Eliana Beckham (3126), Addy Nicholson (3128) and Morgan Beckwith (3127) race in a tight pack. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

HUTCHINSON — Great Bend's domination of the Buhler Cross Country Invitational showed true teamwork. The No. 2 ranked 5A Panthers scored 24 points by placing six runners in the top 15 to outdistance SE Saline (84). 

Salina Central's 5A cross country state champion Katelyn Rupe (17:41.2) and teammate Kaylie Shultz (18:26.7) claimed the top two medalist spots.

Great Bend's third-place Addy Nicholson (20:50.6) led five consecutive Panthers across the finish line. She was followed by Makenzie Premer (20:51.6), Eliana Beckham (20:54.3), Marissa Boone (20:57.7) and Sienna Smith (21:02.4). Morgan Beckwith (21:41.1) finished 13th and Kate Welcher placed 15th (21:52.6)

The girls agreed running in a 'Panther Pack' together was a dream scenario, one which creates team unity.

A steady pace improved their Buhler times from 2022. Smith's improvement (3:16) led the way followed by Welcher (2:21), Beckham (1:07), Beckwith (0:54), Boone (0:34) and Nicholson (0:12).

"That was so much fun," Nicholson said. "It was nice to have everyone running together. It felt like a practice. It was like we were running a workout. You didn't have to rely on yourself because you had support. We had the whole team going through the same pace. That gets you prepared for state."

Premer, also a volleyball standout, was welcomed with open arms in her first season of cross country.

"We encouraged each other as we're running," Premer said. "That was so much more fun running with your team. Coach Lashley said, 'treat it like a hard workout and stick together. We knew we could stay in a herd. We all ran great."

"The only discussion topic was which runner yelled "Let's go," with a final sprint to the finish line in cloudy weather, calm wind and 75 degrees. Beckwith was the appointed 'team leader.'

"Morgan ran a great two miles, then had 'trouble' and fell back. We were defnitely proud of everyone."

Great Bend's boys (221) finished eighth, but their trio of veterans improved their Buhler times. Ismael Ramirez (19:29.6) placed 24th to improve 31 seconds, 40th-place Braylon Moore (19:03.8) cut 2:10 and 53rd-Bradon Suppes (20:04.0) improved 1:29.

Southeast of Saline (31) won the team title led by medalist Brayden Walker (16;26.9).


GIRLS TEAM SCORES—1—Great Bend 24; 2—SE Saline 84; 3—Buhler 92; 4—Salina South 101; 5—Salina Central 137; 6—Berean 141; 7—Winfield 161; 8—McPherson 173.

TOP 10 MEDALISTS—1—Rupe, SC, 17:41.2; 2—Shultz, SC, 18:26.7; 3—Addy Nicholson, GB, 20:50.6

; 4—Makenzie Premer, GB, 20:51.6, 5—Eliana Beckham, GB, 20:54.3, 6—Marissa Boone, GB, 20:57.7; 7—Sienna Smith, GB, 21:02.4; 8—Brown, SE, 21:03.3; 9—Commerford, SE, 21:13.6; 10—Starkweather, Buhler, 21:29.6.

GREAT BEND—13—Morgan Beckwith, 21:41.1; 15—Kate Welcher, 21:52.6.


BOYS TEAM SCORES—1—SE Saline 31; 2—Buhler 41; 3—Hutchinson Trinity 108; 4—Berean 111; 5—McPherson 137; 6—Salina Central 143; 7—Goddard 174; 8—Salina South 220; 9—Great Bend 221; 10—Winfield 238.

TOP 10 MEDALISTS—1—Brayden Walker, SE, 16:26.9; 2—Allen, SE, 16:32.0; 3—Whisler, Buhler, 16:33.1; 4—Cayden Walker, SE, 16:34.6; 5—Lohrentz, Buhler, 16:39.6; 6—Bircher, SEW, 16:40.9; 7—Lindahl, Buhler, 16:41.6; 8—Muehler, Mc, 16:57.9; 9—Elder, Mc, 17:11.2; 10—Trumpp, Buhler, 17:14.6

GREAT BEND—24—Ismael Ramirez, 18:29.6; 40—Braylon Moore, 19:03.8; 52—Anthony Lawrence, 19:52.9; 53—Bradon Suppes, 20:04.0; 57—Parker Coleman, 20:25.5.


GREAT BEND - JV Runners Bella Long and Teah King placed 2nd and 3rd -2- Long, 22:30.0; and -3- King, 22:52.30.