EL DORADO, Kan.—Clearwater sophomore Allison Rylant loves the course at Wartick Farms.
“It’s actually my favorite course,” she said. “You know where you’re going and it’s not confusing. You get to go through the woods, so that’s kind of adventurous …”
Thursday, however, she redeemed herself the best way she knew how: By winning her first race, taking the girls’ four-kilometer title for Division IV of the Ark Valley/Chisholm Trail League meet.
When Rylant and her coach looked at the times of the other runners who would be competing, they realized victory was a possibility and came up with a game plan. She finished the course in 16:38.
“It was pretty much just getting far enough ahead to see (the other runners) every time I turned a corner,” Rylant said nonchalantly. “Just doing my thing.”
Andale took the girls’ and boys’ title in Divison VI, while Winfield swept the championships for Division III.
The boys’ five-kilometer race in Division III may have the most exciting, thanks to Winfield junior Josh Hanna and Mulvane senior Ren Bean. The boys have not only had a rivalry throughout high school, they’ve known each other their whole lives. In fact, their mothers were college roommates at Kansas State. Hanna’s mother was in Ren’s mother’s wedding.
Hanna and his teammate, Riley Osen, were running right with Bean the whole race until Hanna shook them both in the final half mile, winning with a time of 16:45 - 14 seconds ahead of Bean.
“We’ve raced each other just about every race we’ve been at, and we usually finish 1-2,” Hanna said. “It’s been fun. I usually try to stick with my teammate (Osen, who was third with a time of 17:08) until the last 800 yards. Ren knows my strategy pretty well.”
Does he ever.
“I let (Osen) push me around a little bit,” Bean said. “He’d be in the lead, I’d be following him, and at times he’d just push the speed and I’d try to keep up with him, just because I know Josh has a really good kick. I should have just stayed with Josh. I need to think about what I did wrong and fix it.”
The boys’ Division IV race wasn’t nearly that exciting. Andale’s Jacob Wallace won it with a time of 16:56, one minute and 13 seconds ahead of the runner-up, his teammate, Bryce Camp.
“I wanted to beat my school record (15:53) but it’s not the competition or the race to do it,” said Wallace, who hopes to repeat as regional champion next week.
Rose Hill junior Emily Terrell won the Division III title with a time of 15:54, breaking the 16-minute mark at Wartick for the first time.
“I was really happy with the time, even though I’ve been a lot faster at other courses and I felt really tired today," Terrell said. "So the challenge today was pushing myself. But once I took off I just felt really comfortable."