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Five Storylines to Watch for at State Cross Country


By Brad Hallier


While some sports can take an hour (volleyball), two hours (soccer), three hours (football) or even four hours (golf), cross country is over within less time than an average Hulu show.

The final races of the season will be conducted Saturday at the traditional state sites – Wamego Country Club (Classes 1A, 2A and 4A) Rim Rock Farm (Classes 6A, 5A and 3A), and the races will start and be finished in time to grab a late brunch, early lunch or late lunch.

Here are five storylines to keep an eye on.

Bundle up kids (and adults)!

It’s gonna be cold. Like, really cold. Like frozen-tundra-of-Lambeau Field cold.

OK, maybe not that cold, but the forecasted high temperature for Saturday in Topeka – located halfway between Wamego and Rim Rock Farm – is 44 degrees, according to Did we mention there’s a chance of rain?

It could be a sloppy, rugged race for all involved, no matter which course.

Top-ranked Buhler looks for more hardware

Buhler has had quite the run in boys cross country. The Crusaders didn’t make state in 2017, and then won the next four Class 4A titles, and also finished state runner-up last season.

Buhler is ranked No. 1 going into state and for good reason. The Crusaders manhandled the field at the regional they hosted at Prairie Ridge Cross Country Park. They had regional champion Layne Whisler (16 minutes, 29.5 seconds), runner-up Kaden Lohrentz (16:43.7) and third place Gavin Lindahl (16:50.4).

No other runner went under 17 minutes. Buhler had seven of the top nine runners, meaning they had top-10 finishers who didn’t have their points count in the team standings. Buhler finished with 17 points. Runner-up Scott City had 79.

Buhler’s toughest foe will be Wamego, the reigning champion running in its hometown.

Elyria Christian sophomore back among loaded 1A girls field

As a freshman, Elyria Christian’s Laney Reiff had to have been pleased with a seventh-place finish at the state meet.

The only problem? Every runner ahead of her was not a senior, and three were fellow freshmen.

Reiff should be in good shape to contend again. After all, she was a regional champion winning the Wichita Trinity in 19:45.89, the only runner in the field to break 20 minutes.

Sterling senior keeping the Faith

Faith Ekart won a 2A regional championship in 19:53.2. She was not only the sole runner to break 20 minutes, but she was the only to break 21 minutes.

Although the Black Bears aren’t ranked, Ekart will look to compete with some of the best in Kansas, including perennial power and top-ranked Stanton County.

Trinity Catholic boys look to build off dominant regional

Ranked fifth headed to the 2A state meet, Trinity Catholic appears to be running their best headed to Wamego.

The Celtics dominated the regional at Prairie Ridge with 33 points. Second-place Bennington had 69 points. John Lindstrom led the way for Trinity with a third-place finish in a time of 17:29.4. Two other Celtics placed in the top nine, including Cameron Kiser in eighth (18:11.8) and ninth place Jacob Lindstrom (18:13.0).

Trinity’s depth will be an ally this Saturday.