It’s been incremental improvements from the Winfield boys cross country team that have led to the success this season.
Last weekend the Vikings finished a modest 21st in the Gold division at the Rim Rock Invitational, but had three runners in the top 60 of one of the most competitive races in the Midwest.
Junior Josh Hanna was the top area finisher in eighth place with his time of 15 minutes, 44.40 seconds, and teammates Riley Osen (24th, 16:18.10) and Colby Kromminga (59th, 16:53.50) notched solid performances.
“When you think of your better programs like Bishop Carroll, they always have a group of runners toward the front and they can work off each other,” Winfield coach Torey Keller said. “We’re really fortunate to have that this season and we should really appreciate it and cherish it.”
Hanna was the known commodity from last season, and Kromminga has been a steady runner his whole career. The difference has been the addition of the freshman Osen, who was the second-fastest freshmen at Rim Rock.
“He’s not a very big guy, but he’s focused on what he needs to be doing,” Keller said. “For a freshman to be that motivated and that dedicated, it’s pretty special. He runs like a junior, really.”
Winfield will host a major meet Saturday morning at the Veterans’ Home.
“We’ve got a ton of young kids that have never run varsity before that are really starting to come through for us,” Southeast coach Rob Maddux said. “They’re developing in training and in meets and I think we can get them all in the 17-minute range by the end of the season.”
Running on a difficult course last week in Arkansas City, the supporting cast turned in respectable finishes: Matthew Torres was third in 18:38, Chris Shay was fifth in 18:45 and Trey Winters was eighth in 19:07.
Southeast will run at the Winfield Invitational on Saturday.
“She was probably a borderline JV-varsity runner when she first got to us,” Simmons said.
That changed as Montano put in the hours of running and actually improved as she progressed through high school, a rarity for girls.
Last week Montano, now a senior, finished fourth at the Oxford Invitational, and should contend for a state berth in Class 4A in her last season.
“You don’t see it very often where girls get considerably faster with each season,” Simmons said. “Lydia has put in the work and it’s so neat to see how much she’s improved over four seasons with us. It’s been a lot of fun.”