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Ellinwood girls capture state title
spt cp Ellinwood XC
The Ellinwood High School girls cross country team poses after winning the 2A girls state title on Saturday at the Wamego Country Club. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

WAMEGO — Ellinwood’s girls made school history after previously capturing the runner-up state trophy. As each Eagle crossed the finish line, excitement built until the fifth runner passed the finish at Wamego Country Club.
Ellinwood’s Joanna Strecker, Abbie Reichuber and Sarah Hammeke placed in the top 13 as the Eagles captured the Class 2A girls state cross country title in school history. Ellinwood scored a team total of 57 points to beat runner-up Bennington (102) by 45 points. Ellinwood’s boys have won a trio of state titles.
Strecker paced the Eagles with a fourth-place finish (20:27.18) followed by 10th-place finisher Reichuber (20:59.65) and Hammeke in 13th-place (21:14.19).
“I’m so excited right now,” Strecker said. “We’ve been working really hard these past few years. To finally place first feels amazing. I know we ran really well and stayed positive. From my past few races, this is probably my best race.”
Reichuber is Ellinwood’s lone senior.
“We all ran very good and I’m very proud of our team,” Reichuber said. “We were pretty confident in ourselves. We had a good combined time. This is usually one of my faster times at state. We came out and showed everyone how we well could run today.”
The Eagles rounded out their effort with Madelyn Hayes, 23rd (21:48.99); Anna Fisher, 33rd (22:32.7); Courtney Cook, 38th (22:52.28); and Cailey Carmen, 45th (23:07.58).
“I could not be prouder of the girls. The girls ran an awesome race,” said Ellinwood coach Lyles Lashley. “They were very patient through the course. Through the first mile, there were a couple teams ahead of us. We stayed with our game plan of running patient in the second mile and they made up a lot of ground. They kept rolling from there.”
Lashley said the first mile is a challenge because of the difficulty.
“That first mile it’s tough to get out. But none of the girls panicked,” Lashley said. “If you panic, you can get in trouble. Theystayed with our plan. They ran as tough as nails. This is certainly one of my top coaching moments.”
Macksville’s girls finished ninth led by Emma Stimatze in 36th (22:45.11). Also competing for the Mustangs were Itzel Garcia, 39th (22:57.01); Gilda Lopez, 68th (24:32.09); Bethany Esparza, 78th (25:50.11); MikealAnn Loiland, 89th (27:16.97); and Emely Corral Nevarez, 94th (28:18.48).
Bennington freshman Kya Johnson won the Class 2A state title (19:36.49) and beat runner-up Rebecca Avelar of Stanton County (20:01.48). Trego’s Helen Giefer placed third (20:11.27).
St. John freshman Shayla Garcia finished 57th (23:47.01).

Otis-Bison’s Carly Welsh finished 54th (25:57.37) followed by teammates Fiona Connolly, 57th (26:31.3); Megan Tammen, 63rd (28:12.09); and Rose Cody, 66th (29:48.95).