WAMEGO — Ellinwood coach Lyles Lashley had witnessed the work ethic of the Eagles’ cross country teams.
He saw that work pay off with a Class 2A boys cross country state championship and runner-up trophy for the Ellinwood girls Saturday at the hilly Wamego Country Club course.
“It’s a great day for Ellinwood High School,” said Lashley. “I’m tickled by how well the teams performed.”
Pedro Montoya paced the Eagles with a seventh-place finish (17 minutes, 5.76 seconds). The Eagles scored 80 points to outdistance runner-up Stanton County (112).
Montoya placed seventh for the second consecutive year and kept pace with the lead group behind state champion Brady Johnson of Plainville.
“Cross country is a team sport and we’re a team that trains hard, keeps our heads up and encourages others,” Montoya said. “It was tough competition today. We’ve worked hard and earned what we got.”
Others counting for the Eagles were Morgan Feemster, 14th (17:52.18); Kyle Blakeslee, 19th (18:01.76); Kale Clawson, 37th (18:37.54); and Kyle Oglesbee, 40th (18:39.55). Also running for the state champions were Derek Ward and Shawn Troyer.
Lashley said he was confident in his team’s ability to compete. He said the runners did a good job executing their game plan of competing at a hilly Wamego course. Montoya led the pack. Feemster and Blakeslee ran together and Clawson and Oglesbee worked together.
“This team has learned to work together and they ran really well as a group,” Lashley said. “We like our guys to run in packs of two or three runners to keep their pace. We knew if we ran our race, we had a shot at winning the state trophy.”
Ellinwood won its previous boys state cross country championship in 1967.
The Ellinwood girls finished as Class 2A state runner-up for the second consecutive year. Shawnee Maranatha (59) outdistanced the Eagles (95).
“We got beat by a better team that really ran well,” Lashley said. “But our girls could hold their heads high because they did a good job. They all ran a good competitive race today. I was really pleased by how they competed.”
Past state champion Jenna Snell led the Eagles with a fifth-place finish (15:58.60). Other runners who counted in the team score were Brooke Panning, 19th (17:07.85); Rebecca Strecker, 22nd (17:15.14); and Becky Elsen, 37th (17:51.84). Also competing were Ashley Reichuber and Chelsea Kasper.
Three of the girls who were involved in a non-injury accident Sunday morning showed no ill effects, according to Lashley.
“At state, it’s all about competing and placing as high as you can,” Lashley said. “You never worry about your time at this course.”
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Lawrence Seabury Academy won the Class 1A girls title after Tribune Greeley County had won the last three championships.
The Macksville girls finished sixth with 89 points. Leading the way for the Mustangs were top 20 medalists Lisa Penner, sixth (16:38.34); Anna Penner, 14th (17:21.82). Others competing were Silvia Lopez, 54th (19:42.69); Brooke Polly, 59th (20:12.12); and Daisy Ibarra, 68th (21:49.90).
CLASS 1A BOYS
Pike Valley won the Class 1A boys title.
The Stafford boys finished seventh with 105 points. Derek McClure was a top 20 medalist with a seventh-place finish (17:56.45). Others competing were Dustin McClure, 21st (18:35.22); Andy Flores, 50th (20:07.94); Austin Ceniti, 73rd (21:31.15); and Jesus Herrera, 84th (22:22.67).
CLASS 4A BOYS
Wamego’s boys won the team championship. Larned’s Jahman Hill finished 40th with a time of 18:07.09.