St. John seek state berths
BY JIM MISUNAS
Western Athletic Conference boys champion Great Bend and returning state champion St. John headline cross country teams competing in Saturday’s regionals.
Great Bend’s Kerby Depenbusch (17:11.85) and teammate Connor Griffith (17:33.19) finished first and second to lead the Panthers to the WAC cross country championship. They will compete at Wichita’s Lake Afton Course. Depenbusch has placed fifth, seventh and 21st at the 5A state meet. He’s rallied from an early-season stress fracture.
Tenth-place WAC medalist Josh Tomlin, Sage Cauley, Ryan Nicholson, and Ray Kuhlman are returning 5A state qualifiers. Collin Hammond have battled for varsity spots.
“We’re exited for Saturday and everybody is ready to roll,” said Great Bend coach Lyles Lashley. “Getting Kerby Depenbusch healthy has been helpful. Watching our sophomores develop has been fun to see. We’ve run 12 guys in varsity meets this season.”
Wichita Carroll, Maize, Liberal and 4A champion Maize South will push the Panthers for a top three team finish. Five individuals also qualify for state. The Panthers have betaen Liberal and Maize during the season.
“Wichita is a really flat speed course,” Lashley said. “We’d rather than hills, but this the hand we’ve been dealt.
The Great Bend girls face a regional challenge after missing the WAC title on a tiebreaker. Ninth-grader WAC runner-up Aubrey Snapp (17:08.4) headline the girls lineup with 4th-place WAC McKenna Esfeld, 10th-place WAC Baleigh Fry, Paloma Sandoval and LaCora Bryant. Briana Perez and Chloe Gibson round out the Panthers’ lineup.
“We’re excited about how well the girls performed last week,” Lashley said. “They are probably on the outside looking in in the team race. But I’m confident they’ll run like they have nothing to lose.”
• CLASS 1A — St. John’s boys shifts to 1A regionals at Wichita after capturing the 2A state title last year. The Tigers feature A.J. Miller (17th state), Wrangler Walker (21st), Quincy Smith (31st), Mason Osborne (44th) and Trey Fisher (63rd) from last year’s 2A state champion.
Miller won the South Central and Larned races. Braden Witt and Hunter Hanson will also compete. Cashe McVey placed 85th in 2015 and will serve as an alternate.
“We’ve run really well and feel good about where the guys are at,” said St. John coach Joel Delp. “The guys have improved their race times from last year.”
Hanson is the team’s most improved runner in 1A where a team counts four runners.
“We’ve got good running depth, so we’ll go out and run hard and be OK,” Delp said. “We’d like to see the times come down one last time.”
Last year’s 1A state champion Beloit St. John returns six runners and runner-up Frankfort returns five runners.
• CLASS 4A — Larned’s girls captured its first Central Kansas League cross country title. Cierra Nord (4th, CKL) led the Indians with teammates Makayla Leiker, Brooke Butler, Ivory Muldorw and Alaija Stokes. The Indians compete at McPherson’s Rolling Acres Golf Course.
SATURDAY’S CROSS COUNTRY REGIONALS
5A—WICHITA (Lake Afton) Boys 9:15 a.m. Girls 9:55—Goddard, Goddard Eisenhower, Great Bend, Liberal, Maize, Maize South, Wichita Carroll, Wichita Kapaun Mount Carmel
4A—MCPHERSON (Rolling Acres Golf Course) Girls 10:30 a.m.; Boys 11:10—Abilene, Buhler, Chapman, Clay Center, Concordia, Hays High, Holcomb, Hugoton, Larned, Smoky Valley, McPherson, Nickerson, Pratt, Rock Creek, Ulysses, Wamego
3A—ELLSWORTH GOLF COURSE Girls 11 a.m.; boys 11:45—Beloit, Colby, Ellsworth, Goodland, SE Saline, Hays-TMP, Hoisington, Lakin, Lyons, Minneapolis, Norton, Phillipsburg, Russell, Scott City, Sterling
2A—MEADE GOLF COURSE Girls 11 a.m.; boys 11:40—Canton-Galva, Elbing-Berean, Elkhart, Goessel, Greensburg-Kiowa Co,, Hillsboro, Inman, Stanton Co,, Macksville, Marion, Meade, Pratt-Skyline, Sublette, Udall
2A—TRIBUNE (Prairie Ridge Golf Course) Girls 11:10 a.m.; boys 12:30 p.m.—Central Plains, Ellinwood, Ellis, Hill City, Hoxie, Hodgeman County, Wichita County, Ness City, Oakley, Oberlin-Decatur, Plainville, St. Francis, Syracuse, WaKeeney-Trego
1A—TRIBUNE (Prairie Ridge Golf Course) Girls 10:30 a.m.; boys 11:50—Brewster, Bucklin, Deerfield, Dighton, Fowler, Grainfield-Wheatland, Healy, Ingalls, Minneola, Montezuma-South Gray, Moscow, Natoma, Otis-Bison, Palco, Quinter, Satanta, Wallace Co., Stockton, Greeley Co., Victoria
1A—WICHITA (Cessna Activities Center) Girls 12:05 p.m.; boys 12:45—Argonia, Ashland, Burrton, Caldwell, South Central, Chase County, Cunningham, Hartford, Hutchinson Central Christian, Langdon Fairfield, Lebo, Centre, McPherson-Elyria, Marmaton Valley, Pretty Prairie, Flinthills, St. John, St. Paul, Stafford, Waverly
HEART OF THE PLAINS LEAGUE
BOYS TEAM SCORES—1—Pratt Skyline 34; 2—Goessel 59; 3—Pretty Prairie 88; 4—Stafford 94; 5—Wakefield 112; 6—Solomon 131
TOP 5 BOYS MEDALISTS—1—Collin Oswalt, Central Christian, 18:03.02; 2—Eric Ghumm, Skyline, 19:38.31; 3—Jackson Wallace, Skyline, 19;47.5; 4—Dalton Murray, Wakefield, 19:59.9; 5—Race Allen, PP, 20;03.18
STAFFORD RESULTS—7—Cayden Brozek, 20:21.74; 13—Marshall Woolf, 20:50.06; 32—Jovani Valadez, 22:14.65; 34—Miguel Gil, 22:37.9; 40—Rogelio Loya, 23:32.4; 42—Peter Sung, 23:37.31; 49—Toby Woolf, 25:00.84; 58—Son Assawaarua, 32:27.46
GIRLS TEAM SCORES—1—Goessel 35; 2—Skyline 53; 3—Pretty Prairie 59; 4—Canton-Galva 77
TOP 5 GIRLS MEDALISTS—1—Julie Nightengale, Goessel, 23:43.08; 2—Madison Tyler, Skyline, 23:57.02; 3—Kate McGraw, Skyline, 24:06.87; 4—Aaliyah Smith, Solomon, 25:52.08; 5—Kelly Flickinger, Wakefield, 26;17.12