by Taylor Eldridge
This is for all of those cross country fanatics that just couldn’t get enough in today’s paper. If you are looking for more than a witty sentence about your favorite team, here you go. Read it. Digest it. Enjoy it.
Anyone I missed or left out? Or have any questions, comments, suggestions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guaranteed response back.
For what it’s worth, here some quick predictions for the City League. Team order: 1. Northwest; 2. Bishop Carroll; 3. East; 4. Kapaun; 5. Southeast; 6. Heights; 7. West; 8. North; 9. South. Top 5 runners: Robbie Martinez-Garcia; Clint Kissling; Daniel Herbert; Skylar Gutierrez; Will Marsh.
Find out everything you need to know this season about boys cross country after the jump!
Bishop Carroll is pumping out yet another state-contending team. After a second place finish last season, Carroll returns its top two in senior Cliff Kissling and sophomore David Thor. Thor is on his way to one of the more successful individual careers in Carroll’s storied program. Sixth runner Matt Slagle is also back to go along with a freshman class that has been called the most talented in Carroll history. And that’s saying something.East may fly under the radar as one of the top teams in the City League this year. The Blue Aces’ top runner will be Jacob Heil, one of the more consistent runners in the league. Also back to make up a solid core is Will Marsh, Jackson Shaad and Michael Gurley.Heights was middle of the pack last season in the league and loses a lot to graduation this year. Trying to move the program up this year will be senior Brandon Deck and juniors Matthew Wright and Anthony Shaw.Kapaun believes it will be the surprise team of the City League. Despite big losses due to graduation, the Crusaders add two newcomers that will be instant point-getters. Cody Saunders, Michael Huff and John Doan have varsity experience and the team adds Matt Ayres and Tim Wescott. Kory Glasgow has also picked things up over the summer and has become a solid racer for Kapaun. Ayres is only a sophomore and broke out running last spring in track season.North won’t be able to compete with the big dogs of the City League yet, but is building a solid foundation with good, young talent. Seniors Miguel Correa and Alex Prine will lead the team and guide junior Tim Jarvis and sophomores Travis Dorion, William Kindel and Alex Whitworth. Improving on last season’s 7th place finish at league would be a step in the right direction.Northwest returns one of the top one-two combo’s in the area with Robbie Martinez-Garcia and Daniel Herbert, but of course you know all about those two if you read my story. Those aren’t the only talents the Grizz have this year, as Andrew Johnson and Michael Wells return with varsity experience. Freshman Max Surmeier is a talent who was the middle school champion at Wilbur. Michael McCormick and Trevor Edward will add depth with partial varsity experience. Northwest should contend with Carroll and East for a team title.South won’t have much experience returning, but it will feature several intriguing prospects. Bernardo Miranda, Hanie Brayour, Jacob Chamberlin and Cody Webb are returning letterman. Freshman John Castellau and Jeremy Collins were standout runners in middle school and juniors Alex Cruz and Robert Edwards add depth.Southeast returns a potent one-two combo in seniors Skylar Gutierrez and Austyn Noblitt. Gutierrez’s dad is a respected runner in the Wichita running scene and Skylar has been one of the most consistent runners in his four years at Southeast. Noblitt has made a name for himself in the track scene and will try to translate that to cross country this year. Sophomores Marcus Greene and Sterlin Broomfield are returning varsity members, as well. A good core should make the Buffaloes even more competitive.West has an intriguing talent in senior Rene Rios. He placed in the top five of all three meets he raced in, before suffering an injury in his main sport, soccer. He doesn’t practice with the team, so his upside is tremendous. Senior Jonathon Downs and senior Khalfani Issa are also back with varsity experience. West is loaded with upperclassmen, so improving on its eighth place finish in league last year shouldn’t be difficult.
Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League
Andover will have a solid top four in Matthew Dekoning, Michael Just, Patrick Violetta and Lane White. Dekoning and Just missed out on all-league honors barely last season, and with another year of experience should improve. Violette is an interesting prospect, being only a sophomore. He has the potential to be the team’s number one runner.Andover Central has a solid top two runners in senior Travis Jones and sophomore Andy Howell. Jones is a returning state qualifier and Howell has showed dramatic improvement over the summer. Juniors Eri Lightfoot and Jeff Howell will be solid contributors to the varsity team, which will rely on underclassmen to fill in the other spots.Campus isn’t interested in rebuilding. The Colts are expecting to reload after a third place finish at state last season. Gone are the team’s top two, but back are seniors Brock Nooney, Nick Ward and Cooper Clark. Nooney has elevated his running over the summer and should be one of the more consistent runners in 6A this season. Ward is also a state qualifier that is back. Sophomore Bryant Keirns has shown promising signs of continuing Campus’ recent string of success, as well.Circle will have one of its deepest teams ever with 19 boys out this season. That depth extends to the varsity realm, with a solid top four returning. Jason Lauxman, a junior, will be the team’s top runner after a top-30 finish at state and being named to first team all-league. Senior Jamseon Fay is also a first team all-league runner and Ben Harstine and Will Sellers will make up a solid nucleus. Not to mention some up-and-coming talent in the sophomore and freshman ranks that will fill out the lineup. Circle should improve on its 10th place finish at state last season.Clearwater will still be trying to regain its team success in recent years. This year it will be on the shoulder’s of many underclassmen, though. Junior Jerome Youngers will be the team’s top runner and should qualify for state after missing it last year by one spot. Seniors Dustin Cooper and Kody Terwort will provide the leadership to a talented freshman class, which includes Ian Woods and Hayden Bates.Derby graduated WSU signee Jake Wike, but should still be one of the top teams in the area. Neil Metler will take over as the team’s top runner, after placing 26th at state last year. He will break out of his shell this fall and be one of the top runners in the area. Derby will place as a team because of its middle depth with Darren Dawdy, Craig Compton, Max Runyon and Jake Nugen.El Dorado’s strength won’t be in individual runners, but in its team. Casey Nightengale, Ben Jiles, Spencer Jensen and Dale Nuckolls made up the state-placing team in last spring’s state track meet. Those four will be the leaders of the team and provide a solid foundation to build around. Dawson Brush adds a great fifth runner and underclassmen Sam Haines and Michael Riedl will fill in the last two spots with plenty of upside.Goddard is another team that will rely on younger runners this season. Senior Brandon Massey will set a good pace as the team’s top runner, but the rest of the team will be made up of underclassmen. Sophomore Lincoln Lemon has impressed coaches with his summer time trials and has great upside.Hutchinson has one of the top individual runners back in 5A with senior Cameron Sprague. He placed in the top-10 last year at state and will be in contention for the individual title this fall. He is joined by a talented duo in Chris Wise and Derek Mitchell.Maize has a capable top four, but is in search of a fifth runner to solidify it as a team to make state. Sophomores Ryan Hopkins and Eli Ybarra will team with seniors Daniel Van Sickle, the team captain, and Landon Kilgore to compose the team’s top runners. Hopkins has shown promising talent early on as a runner and will continue to blossom into a competitive runner. How fast Ybarra develops will be key, as well, considering he didn’t run cross country last season.Mulvane is, once again, the favorite to win the 4A team title. After dominating the state meet last year, this year’s team features six of the same runners. Nikki Trooian-Smith is the top returning individual and has taken over the leadership role in the program. Running in a pack towards the front of the race will be Wyatt James, Josh Hansen, Nick Lockwood and Evan Landes.Newton will be in search of young runners to fill in spots to make the team competitive. The top runners are in place, with junior Austin Lettan and senior Joel Gouvion. Lettan is a state qualifier that is back and Gouivon was a letter-winner last season.Rose Hill is struggling with numbers at the moment and is hoping someone will step up and lead the team.Valley Center returns four of its top five runners and will have a chance to qualify its team for the state meet. Making the team go will be junior Corey Kingsland. He is the top runner on the team and will be followed by three seniors in Brice Morrow, Brad Sandlin and Jeremy Lincicome.
Berean Academy will be a favorite to compete for the Class 3A state title. After placing second as a team last year, Berean returns eight runners with varsity experience from last season. Josiah Busenitz, Arlon Newby and Daniel Claassen provide the top-end talent, while seniors Justin Claassen, Michael Claassen and Lane Holmes complete a solid lineup. With five seniors, Berean is expecting a state championship.Bluestem will have seven runners back this season. Senior Carson Sowers will lead three juniors (Pat Warren, Treavor Landreth, Jacob May), a sophomore (Tyler Leed) and two freshman (Alex Hatfield, Trent Navarro).Burrton has senior Luis Rivera back after a injury cut short most of his junior season. He is a second team All-League runner and placed 16th at Regionals last year. With a full season under his belt, Rivera will have a chance to qualify for state. Junior Zac Crow and newcomers Ryan Webber and Trae Lane will see varsity action, as well.Cheney welcomes back Seth Alstrom for his senior season, after qualifying for the state tournament his first three years. He is the top returner in the Central Plains League and should be among the state’s best in the 4A level. Brandon Lefevre and Logan Dehning, both juniors, are the only others with varsity experience. But the team will rely on a talented freshman class, that will include Micah Dehning, Hunter Veith, Nic Sanders and Taylor Hagerman.Collegiate doesn’t return much depth to its team, but has an outstanding number one runner in junior Max Craddock. He qualified for the 3200-meter race in last spring’s state meet, and will look to build off that showing this fall in cross country.Cunningham just started its cross country program last season. This year the improvement should be shown with an expected 5-man team out this year. Junior Chase Ward and sophomore Justin Stackhouse are two runners that will look to lead the program in its second year.Douglass will be a young team, but it does return varsity experience to the equation. Senior Connor Zaldiver is back along with sophomores Ben Goodwin and Koal Gibson.Fairfield has a number of returning runners from last season and should be much improved. The two top runners on the team will be junirs Corey Cannon and Nathan Marlow.Goessel returns three of its top four runners from its fifth place team at state last year. Jared Reimer, a senior, will be the team’s top runner. He returns after placing 13th at state last year and will threaten to crack the top 10 this year. The other two top runners will be senior Derek Kroger and junior Laird Goertzen.Haven started with one boy in the program three years ago. Now the team has 18. There aren’t any standouts individually, which makes practices even more competitive for the team. Kevin Marks will be one of the top runners. He had the pleasure of running in Australia over the summer. Also on the team will be seniors Colton Young, True Johnson and Chase Ausherman, juniors Kipp Childs, Tritton Crabtree, Dylan Snodgrass, Taylor Stephen, Bryce Jeffery and Sheldon Knapp. Underclassmen are Derek Dunn, Ian Brannan, Luke Johnson, Jed Beachy, T.J. Jaques and Ben Knapp.Independent is back with a vengeance this year after winning league and regionals, but faltering at the state meet last year. Back this year is a deeper squad that has good top-end talent in Jacob Campbell, Jordan Speed, Jason Ream and Josh Werner.Peabody-Burns features one of the top individual runners in senior Aaron Topham and junior Sheldon Wiebe is right behind him. They both placed in the top-30 of state last year. Josh Klarmann is another senior on the team and is a great leader. Two newcomers will be Jacob Simmonds and Steffen Pospiech and freshman Zach Preheim and Seth Topham will round out the lineup. Not only is Aaron Topham a great runner, but a great student as well.Pretty Prairie is a state contender. It placed third last year in Class 1A and returns four runners from last season. Juniors Isaac Williams and Cody Howell are state medalist returning and seniors Clayton Williams and Joe Lampe are three-year letterman. Freshman Trey Tallant and Corwin Williams add to the mix young talent and should help Pretty Prairie immediately.Sedgwick is going to be a young team, but will be led by senior Kyle Hendrixson.Skyline only has five boys on the team this year, so staying healthy will be critical. Junior Karsen Becker is the only runner back with some experience, while first-year runners on the team will be Colten Ebert, Holden Kenworthy, Rocky Robinson and Trevor Rosenbaum.Smoky Valley is expecting to win its league after a third place finish last season. Junior Koltin Howard-Talbott, Lars Peterson, Paul Masterson and Tanner Lott return with varsity experience. Josh Johannsen is a newcomer that is expected to be a varsity contributor as well.Sunrise Christian Academy features several new faces, but one familiar one will be junior Daren Stephens. Senior Tom McQuery is out for cross country and will also play football for the school as well.Trinity Academy finished second in league last season and will return its team MVP last season in junior Nick Wornke. Co-captains Jake Wilson and Chase Skelton will lead the team as seniors and Jonathan Nyguard, Logan Posson and Andrew Newlin will make a solid varsity team.