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St. John, Ellinwood qualify teams for state cross country
st john cc boys
The St. John boys qualified for 1A state cross country - photo by Photo by DICK SMITH

WAMEGO — The battle of the St. John’s will match 2A state cross country champion St. John against 1A state champion Beloit St. John’s.
The Tigers shift to 1A where defending state champion Beloit St. John’s features high-quality runners. The Tigers will compete at 12:55 p.m. Saturday at Wamego Country Club.
St. John’s regional runner-up Mason Osborne (18:09.07) posted a career-best time and qualified with third-place A.J. Miller (18:18.79); fifth-place Wrangler Walker (18:38.81); sixth-place Quincy Smith (18:39.02); 10th-place Hunter Hanson (18:59.70); 12th-place Trey Fisher (19:06.04); and 13th-place Braden Witt (19:06.31).
St. John (73) edged Stanton County (74) for the 2A team title. Miller placed 17th, Walker 21st and Smith 31st.
“These guys have been through a state meet. They have run the course multiple times and know what to expect,” said St. John cross country coach Joel Delp. “That allows them to focus on running their race. We have fresh legs and feel like we are ready to compete.”
Delp said the early afternoon time should offer optimum race conditions.
“If the wind stays down, we can run some of our fastest times of the year,” Delp said. “We hope to get several of our guys in the top 20.”
Beloit St. John’s features state runner-up David Lutgen, fourth-place Adam Bates, Brandon Bates and Celeb Eiler, who all run under 17:13 at regionals.
“St. John’s Beloit is going to be very tough to beat because they have very fast runners,” Delp said. “Our top four obviously need to run faster and we can’t rely on our depth. We will try to get all seven in front of other teams.”
Frankfort, Wallace County and Axtell are all fast teams. We will have our work cut out for us.
CLASS 2A — The Ellinwood girls placed first (39) to qualify its entire team to the 2A state meet at Wamego. Ellinwood’s ninth-grader Ashtin Klepper placed third (21:39.48); ninth-grader Erin Hammeke fourth (21:42.25); Sarah Hammeke, 10th (23:05.76); Courtney Cook, 12th (23:47.94) and Alicia Mitchell, 45th (27:41.23).
Ellinwood placed fifth and Sarah Hammeke placed 13th and Cook finished 48th in 2016.
“I’m very proud of our girls and what they accomplished,” said Ellinwood coach Andrew Cherry. “When you qualify for state, it’s always exciting. Our freshmen are excited to be a part of that. They have been running in our middle school program waiting for this experience and now they are leading us. They both work so hard so their payoff is being in the front of races and leading our team into the state meet.”
Cherry said Sarah Hammeke and Courtney Cook have blossomed as leaders.
“They share experiences and stories with the younger girls to motivate them and give them the right frame of mind when they go into big races,” Cherry said. “They use past experiences to encourage the team as well as each other to true and accomplish their goals. I cannot wait to see what these girls are going to do next year as seniors.”
Competing at Wamego is an advantage.
“We were fortunate enough to run in Wamego,” he said. “It’s always a good experience to have run in the state course before the state meet. All the girls know what to expect and will look forward to the challenge. Ashtin, Erin and Alicia are relatively new to the high school scene and will benefit from having run the course. I’m looking forward to watching them race.”
Central Plains’ Hannah Redetzke, seventh (22:26.36) and Monica Short, ninth (23:02.72) qualified as individuals.
Ellinwood’s Peter Joslin placed fifth (18:50.04) and Jonathan Whisnant eighth (19:03.33) to qualify as individuals.
CLASS 1A — The Otis-Bison girls placed fourth (69), good enough to qualify all four girls for the 1A state meet in Wamego. Carly Welsh placed 13th (24:43.23); Ashtyn Butler, 23rd (28:40.07); Sheridan, Ewy, 24th (29:02.51) and Amanda Sizemore, 27th (33:44.12).
CLASS 3A — Hoisington’s Dayne Yott qualified for the 3A state meet at Lawrence with an eighth-place finish (18:44.34) at Ellsworth.

2A BOYS—10:35 A.M.
ELLINWOOD—5—Peter Joslin, 18:50.04; 8—Jonathan Whisnant, 19:03.33

1A GIRLS—11:10 A.M.
OTIS-BISON—13—Carly Welsh, 24:43.23; 23—Ashtyn Butler, 28:40.07; 24—Sheridan, Ewy, 29:02.51; 27—Amanda Sizemore, 33:44.12
ST. JOHN—14—Atarah Walker, 24:56.33

2A GIRLS— 12:20 P.M.
ELLINWOOD—3—Ashtin Klepper, 21:39.48; 4—Erin Hammeke, 21:42.25; 10—Sarah Hammeke, 23:05.76. 12—Courtney Cook, 23:47.94; 45—Alicia Mitchell, 27:41.23.
CENTRAL PLAINS—7—Hannah Redetzke, 9—Monica Short, 23:02.72
MACKSVILLE—14—Itzel Garcia, 24:04.17