By Taylor Eldridge
The biggest day of the season – to this point – left us with plenty of surprise, feel-good stories and some intrigue. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Wichita area is improving vastly and it represented very well against the northeastern and western sides of Kansas.
I think the talent level in Wichita right now is at an all-time high. But enough about all this bubbly feel-good stuff, let’s go team-by-team and review what happened from Saturday.
Class 6A: Dodge City RegionalMy Predictions: 12 of 20 (60%) individuals within one spot right; 13 of 16 (81%) teams’ finish exactly right.
Things go according to plan for the Colts. A first place finish in the team race on the boys’ side was expected and Campus held off a very determined Northwest team pretty easily. Bryant Keirns (17:09) appears to finally be healthy now, so he’s back to being the team’s No. 1 runner. Brock Nooney (17:23) isn’t far behind and with Nick Ward (17:51) starting to come on strong, the team is looking good. Chris Kelly (18:10) and Cooper Clark (18:15) provide solid 4-5 runners. The depth is there too with Jeremy Shear (18:41) there if needed and then Kyle Smith (19:36). The girls’ team wasn’t able to contend for a team spot, finishing sixth, but did put Ashley Krier (18:15) through to the state meet. Briana Binger (18:37), Bailey Clark (18:59), Alyson Krier (19:21) and Aubrey Winkler (19:37) were the others. They’re all back next year, so expect Binger and Winkler to be around state contention next year.
The boys team finished fourth as a team, a good ways back from Maize. Not necessarily a disappointment, since the team did send Brandon Massey (18:26) and Lincoln Lemon (18:48) through to the state meet. It looks like Lemon barely edged teammate Zach Hambrick (18:49) for the last spot to go to state. That must have been tough. Clayton Lorg (19:17) and Caleb Davis (19:21) rounded out the team score and the team also had Tanner Barker (19:48) and Colton Berblinger (20:49). After pulling a great win last week, the team has to be disappointed in its second place finish to Maize this week. The team was without its 4 runner, but still they are going to state. Megan Ballinger (16:18) was a little bit off Eichkorn from North, but still went 3-4 with teammate Courtney Maddux (16:50). Julie Randall (17:24) did her part with a top-10 finish and 4-5 runners Meredith Skidmore (18:22) and Tiana Hacker (18:27) ran well, just not enough to edge a fully healthy Maize team. Other runners for Goddard were Briana Pina (18:42) and April Rayer (19:11).
Finally, Maize was healthy and finally, it showed its potential. First off, Ryan Hopkins (17:27), who missed last week’s league race, came back and ran wonderfully to place fourth. Heck of a race from him. Eli Ybarra (18:34) and Dan Van Sickle (18:35) were their usual solid selves and the next pack of Landon Kilgore (19:03) and Brooks Rummery (19:04) were good enough to get the team to state. Kris Jacobsen (19:23) and Richard Nance (19:32) were the other two for the boys. This has to be a great feeling for the girls’ team to bring home a Regional title after all the injuries and sickness they have overcome this season. Dani Walker (15:28) won, as expected, and Mary Kranick (17:11) and Najai Hill (17:29) turned in expected top-10 performances. But a newcomer, freshman Alex Johnson (18:18), turned out to be the X-Factor. She finished fourth in a tie with fifth runenr Kelsy McNay (18:18). That’s the difference between a Regional title and a second place finish. What a great showing by the team, which also had Sarah Allen (18:47) and Corinne Penner (19:25) running.
It was assumed the team wouldn’t be able to compete for a team spot, but I know they were hoping to get Brandon Dorion (18:45) in. By my calculations, it looked like he’s in. That’s such a great accomplishment for him, being only a sophomore. Other runners for the boys’ team were William Kindel (20:05), Alex Whitworth (20:18), Nick Bright (20:30), Luis Sosa (21:27) and Alex Prine (22:10). The girls’ team was six points away from Dodge City in nabbing the last team spot to go to state. That has to be frustrating, but the team still gets Amber Eichkorn (16:05), Halle Suderman (17:47) and Sidney Kniep (18:02) to state. Eichkorn edged Ballinger, so that was a nice little personal victory against a pretty comparable opponent. Suderman and Kniep both are in the top-12, so that was nice. The other runners for the team were Sierra Oliver (18:29), Jessamyn Ferguson (18:30), Quinn Balliet (19:25), Hannah Dykstra (20:39).
What a great race from the boys’ team. Through all the sickness and injuries, the team fought on and the second place finish felt pretty good. Robbie Martinez-Garcia (17:06) won the race, besting the two competitors from Campus. Andrew Johnson (17:55) ran lights out and finished seventh. Daniel Herbert (18:13) chipped in another top-10 performance. Kevin Crafton (18:43) and Max Surmeier (18:52) were spectacular once again and the depth is definitely there with Michael McCormick (19:07) and Drake Brown (19:31) right there as well. The girls’ team ran spectacularly well too. It finished fifth, but ran better than anyone could have expected. Meredith Short (18:09) literally came out of nowhere and is now going to the state meet. That’s always great to see. Others for the girls’ were Shannon Yahn (18:31), Emily Loehner (18:41), Tianna Dilliehunt (18:57), Paige Welborn (18:59), Rachael Schoonover (19:27) and Jill McPherron (21:02).
The boys’ team had a hope in freshman John Castellaw to qualify for the state meet, but he barely missed out by seven seconds. That’s too bad, but he’s got three more years. Others on the boys’ team were Jeremy Collins (20:03), Devon Tiger (20:09) and Garrett French (22:59). Not much from the girls’ team, so I’ll just give you the times: Kyrstin Cunningham (19:50), Kelsie Gilchrist (20:05), Victoria Reppond (20:40), Cecilia Miranda (22:51) and Maria Ponce (23:24).Class 6A: East RegionalMy Predictions: 13 of 20 (65%) individuals within one spot right; 10 of 16 (63%) teams’ finish exactly right.
The benefactor of Manhatta’s fallout was Derby, who sneaked into that third spot. Neil Metler (16:09) proved Wichita matches up well with its northern rivals, as he edges the Rural trio pretty handily. Freshman Brandon Lewis (17:36) really ran strong, and he wasn’t alone. Vontez Long (17:47), Darren Dawdy (18:05) and Craig Compton (18:12) ran outstanding and the Panthers really ran well. They were beat out by East by two points, but it didn’t matter. Other runners were Jake Nugen (18:43) and Max Runyon (19:21). To show just how tough this Regional, Derby – the defending Class 6A champion – placed third. Amber Green (15:17) edged teammate Emily Hornbeck (15:20) for second place to Clifton. That was somewhat surprising. Valerie Nielson (16:35), Lindsay Cuadra (16:50), Brenna Kleman (16:57) and Claire Cox (17:01) packed well and the team score was almost enough to beat Manhattan. Kaitlan Kleman (18:25) was the other runner. Look for the girls’ team to really turn it on again at state.
After somewhat of a disappointing race from the boys’ team last week, it looks like it rebounded this week. The team barely edged Derby by two points. Will Marsh (16:55) kept up with teammate Aaron Heil (16:58) and those two really ran well. Jesse Parker (17:46), Jacob Seamster-Davis (17:48) and David Perales (18:23) were the next three for the Aces. They have the ability to pack well, so that bodes well for its state hopes. Other two runners were Tanner Follis (18:33) and Quentin Brown (18:35). It’s a shame the girls’ team won’t be able to run at state, but that’s just how tough this Regional was. Carlin Greene (16:23) and Cate Dunn (16:27) will be representing East at state though. The next pack in was Kristen Lumpkins (17:09), Andrea Livingston (17:10) and Savana Cross (17:11). The other two were Abby Amstutz (17:59) and Aubrey Smading (18:28).
The boys’ team was hoping to get Brandon Deck (17:58) into the state meet, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to get in. Other times for the boys’ team were: Larry Kelley (19:16), Jeff Welch (19:20), Josh Christie (19:36), Mitchell Lawrence (20:12) and Chris Williams (20:59). The girls’ team had similar hopes in Alyssa Myers (16:28), only a freshman, but she was edged out by East’s Dunn by a second for the last spot. Others for the girls’ team were: Ashea Hanna (16:44), Laura Broadfoot (17:46), Cortney Deneen (18:30), Guro Olauseen (18:48), Genai George (18:53) and Haley Geer (19:04).
It was a question how senior Skylar Gutierrez would rebound after dropping out of last week’s league race. He answered it by running in the top-10 (17:26) and advancing to the state meet. That’s great for him. The other runners for the boys’ team were Marcus Greene (18:28), Sterlin Bloomfield (18:39), Austyn Noblitt (18:41), Henry Reyes (19:35), Camron Davis (19:41) and D.J. Squires (20:04). Talk about a surprise, I don’t know where Brittany Mason (16:23) came from, but now she’s in the state meet. What a great surprise story for the Buffs. Other runners for the girls’ team were: Sarah Masood (16:45), Aquila Allen (17:06), Kristin Mallon (18:04), Gabi Mendez (18:05), Jennifer Dome (18:07) and Ellie Meeth (19:08).
Classes 5A, 4A and 3A will be coming sometime tomorrow.