WAMEGO — Ellinwood High School’s Pedro Montoya ran a perfect race to capture the Class 2A state cross-country championship.
The Ellinwood Eagles captured their third consecutive 2A boys team title and fifth in school history.
Montoya ran the day’s fastest time (16:22.71) at Wamego Country Club to beat Washington County’s Dylan Hodgson and Ness City’s Dray Carson, last year’s state champion.
“My time wasn’t the best, but it was a great race, my best race at state,” Montoya said. “The gold medal is a bonus. I put in the hard work. God does the rest. He gives me the ability and I give him the glory. I couldn’t have this done without Him.”
Ellinwood scored 47 points to finish ahead of runner-up Shawnee Maranatha (82) and Leoti-Wichita County (117).
Ellinwood also counted Kyle Oglesbee, 13th (17:47.53); Morgan Feemster, 17th (17:52.69); Noah Leon, 25th (18:35.65); and Jacob Kasselman, 28th (18:45.94). Also competing were Avery Pike, 47th (19:13.43); and Dean Ramsey, 80th (20:52.55).
“I’m proud of every one of my teammates,” Montoya said. “They ran great and put it all out there. Coach (Lyles Lashley) told us to think about your teammates when you are running. Think about how to keep going even if you are hurting. Don’t slow down. We trained to get used to this challenging course and it paid off.”
Lashley said Feemster worked hard to overcome stress fractures and the team relied on senior leaders Montoya and Feemster. He said everyone did their job.
“Pedro ran a great, smart race,” Lashley said. “Morgan (Feemster) and Kyle (Oglesbee) started out about 20th and started picking their way through the field. Freshman Noah (Leon) hung with his teammates as long as he could. Jacob Kasselman, our other freshman, also ran outstanding. They ran lights out all the way through and ran an incredible race. All the hard work paid off today.”
CLASS 2A GIRLS
Ellinwood’s girls finished third (92) behind Shawnee Maranatha (47) and runner-up Berean Academy (66) to complete a four-year run of state trophies.
Ellinwood’s Joanna Strecker placed fifth (16:24.17) and Abbie Reichuber placed ninth (16:33.88) to earn individual state medals.
Also running were Maddie Hayes, 29th (17:35.67); Chelsea Kasper, 43rd (18:10.46); McKenna Rugan, 42nd (17:20.4); Brooke Panning, 44th (18:10.83); and Sophie Hayes, 90th (22:04.15).
“The Ellinwood girls ran an excellent race,” Lashley said. “They competed well. Four years in a row, they’ve won a state title. They are a little disappointed, but I’m awfully proud of them. Maranatha and Berean have better teams. Hats off to them.”
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Macksville surprised defending state champion Tribune-Greeley County at regionals, but the Jackrabbits (40) beat the Mustangs (49) for the Class 1A state title.
Tribune-Greeley County captured the 1A girls team title for the sixth time in school history and for the fifth time in the past six years.
Lisa Penner finished sixth (16:50.0) after a third-place state finish last year. St. Paul’s Jenny O’Bryan (16:13.47) captured the state title ahead of runner-up Taylor Tustin (16:26.71) of Grainfield-Wheatland.
“We had hoped for better, but we all ran hard and did our best,” Penner said. “It’s something to be proud of. The hills were tough today. We focused on getting better and we improved each year.”
Macksville’s other runners were Emma Stimatze, 19th (17:55.36); Anna Penner, 20th (18:00.07); Magi Penner, 47th (19:12.07); Gilda Lopez, 57th (20:40.14); Susie Penner, 60th (20:54.86); and Cassandra Wolff, 80th (22:31.44).
Macksville head coach Mike Hullman said the Mustangs gave the Jackrabbits a wake-up call at regionals.
“They had a couple girls who ran better this week and the experience of winning state two years in a row,” Hullman said. “They didn’t want to give it up. We ran well and it’s their best finish in state history. They bonded together really well. We beat Tribune last week, but we knew they’d be tough. Our times were slower this year, but they had changed the course a little bit.”
CLASS 1A BOYS
Macksville’s Henry Penner finished as Class 1A state runner-up (17:17.34) behind state champion Caden Callaway of Pike Valley.
Pike Valley won the team title (50) with four runners ahead of Frankfort (58) and Natoma (59).
Penner started a fast pace, but Callaway passed him by the end of the first mile and never trailed again.
“It went pretty good,” Penner said. “I started a fast pace and I improved my time. I knew Caden had been running well all year.”
Stafford’s Derek McClure finished fourth (17:41.82) to move up after last year’s ninth-place finish. Jon McClure (1981, 1982) is Stafford’s only state cross-country champion.
Macksville finished seventh (113) and Stafford finished 10th (140).
Macksville’s other runners were Hector Negrete, 50th (20:25.08); Isaac Siebert, 54th (20:35.89); Brigdon Russell, 59th (20:43.89); Jarrod Kuckelman, 66th (21:17.24); Wyatt Neeland, 73rd (21:55.58); and Caden Ary, 80th (22:52.98)
Stafford’s other runners were Austin Ceniti, 61st (18:55.9); Ramiro Arzola, 64th (20:50.0); Jesus Herrera, 67th (21:22.89); Mikey Aguilar, 70th (21:31.29); Trenton Herrman, 77th (22:28.80); and Noah Johnson, 81st (23:04.66).
CLASS 4A GIRLS
Larned’s Delainee Gordon finished 29th (16:45.64).