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Great Bend runners off to state
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LAWRENCE — Great Bend’s Kerby Depenbusch will return to Class 5A state cross country at Rim Rock Farm Saturday after placing seventh in Class 5A state cross country last year.
Depenbusch beat Andover’s Alexander Moen to win a regional title (16:14.72). Great Bend’s Eric Vazquez qualified 11th (17:17.44) and Armando Jaquez placed 12th (17:22.53).
Depenbusch overcame congestion and fought an issue with nerves creating some pain. But medication helped him run one of his best races of the season at regionals.
“I’m pretty confident,” Depenbusch said. “My goal is my run my best and work for a top five finish. I like running hills and Rim Rock is a tactical course. Maybe the only thing I’ll change is I may go out a shade slower so that I can finish the race stronger.”
Depenbusch said his times has been favorable despite some health issues to overcome.
“Regionals was 30-to-40 seconds faster than last year and 15 seconds off my fastest time,” he said. “I ran the course at Rim Rock fairly well earlier this season.”
“Kerby has enjoyed a very good sophomore season,” said Great Bend coach Todd Kaiser. “He has a great opportunity to put together another good showing at the state meet.”
Eric Vasquez and Armando Jaquez also qualified for state.
“Armando came on strong the last half of the season and developed into a very good cross country runner,” said Kaiser. “Eric has had a great season. He’s been consistent during the season and has put up some very good times.”
The Great Bend girls feature third-place regional finisher Karen Razo (20:24.34) along with Paloma Sandoval (20:58.94), Autumn Weingrad (22:49.91); Madison Bittner (22:58.18), Ruth Reyes (23:27.06), Ashley Weingrad (23:28.81) and Emma Millard (24:00.44). It’s the first time since 2012 the girls qualified for the state meet.
“Karen Razo has been the leader and has run steady all season,” Kaiser said. “We were able to get Ashley Weingrad and Mady Bittner back for regionals and that made a huge difference for us at regionals. I’m really happy for the girls.
“They have worked hard and picked the right time to put together their best race at regionals. They have battled through injuries. We were at full strength at regionals and everything fell into place. It’s a great accomplishment for them.”