Lincoln’s Vath repeats as 1A XC champ; Meade boys win
VICTORIA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Some familiar names won individual titles at the Class 1A Cross Country State Championships at Victoria’s Plum Creek Nature Trails Saturday. Lincoln senior Jaycee Vath repeated as an individual champion, and Central Christian senior Collin Oswalt moved to the top in the boys' race.
“I was talking to my family and I was nervous about backing up my state championship,” said Vath. “They told me not to go for that, to go for time. I really wanted to PR. I haven’t done that this year. I really wanted to come in and PR but that didn’t happen.”
Vath remained packed up with three other runners in the first third of the race. Finally in about the final 1400m, with a spring-like wind pushing the runners, Vath was able to make some headway on the final downhill and into the flats.
“I didn’t really have a plan to pull away,” she said. “Over there the wind really picked up. On the downhill I really picked up and tried pushing it until the finish.”
Vath missed her personal best but still won easy by 36 seconds in 19:20.1. Doniphan West junior Elle Williams led her state championship team with the silver in 19:56.1. Golden Plains freshman Emma Weiner picked up the bronze in 20:27.2.
Lincoln could not retain its team title, finishing second with 54 points. Doniphan West, with three of the top-11 runners in the race, won the title with 42 points. Wichita Classical finished third with 62 points, still 11 spots better than fourth-place Meade.
Doniphan West sophomore Chloe Clevenger ran fifth in 20:33.5, followed by teammate Claire Cole in 11th in 21:33.4. Sophomore Alyson Gobin picked up the final championship points in 24:51.8 for 45th overall.
Lincoln had just four runners in the race so all counted towards the second-place team score. Junior Shelbie Ford ran 20th in 22:14.4, junior Reagan Stewart placed 25th in 22:47.5, and junior Alex Biggs finished 47th in 25:29.8.
Pretty Prairie junior Abigail White ran eighth in 21:06.3, Macksville sophomore Madison Butler placed ninth in 21:23.3, and Ingalls junior Courtney Bailey capped the top-10 with a time of 21:29.1.
Oswalt cruises to title for Cougars
Last fall Oswalt and Beloit-St. John’s Caleb Eilert were clearly the top-two runners in the classification. Eilert ran well when it mattered to beat Oswalt by 27 seconds for the title. Saturday in Victoria was a different story. Oswalt led start to finish and beat Eilert by 23 seconds in a fast 15:56.8.
“God was teaching me some lessons last year that I needed to learn,” Oswalt said. “That’s really what I believe happened. I needed to come ready and learn some spiritual lessons and that’s what happened.”
The duo again went untested as winds picked up at the course. Eilert crossed in 16:19.9 for the silver, and Osborne senior Reagan Bales finished third in 16:43.2.
“My identity is wrapped up in Christ so there was nothing to lose,” said Oswalt. “I wanted to go fast and I wanted to go hard and represent to Lord rightly. I went hard and ended up feeling it a little bit more than I expected in the last half. But it was worth it.”
There was quite a shake-up in the team standings with three all new teams taking home hardware. Meade won the title with 30 points, followed by LaCrosse with 63 points and Quinter in third with 70 points. Olpe finished a distant fourth with 93 points, just three spots ahead of fifth-place St. John.
The Buffs got the help of a trio of freshmen, led by Trent Roberts in fifth place with a time of 17:28.5. Freshman Logan Keith finished two spots later in 17:40.2. Freshman Brock Keith ran 17th in 17:44.4, and senior Vance Shewey scored the final team points in 27th with a time of 18:36.0.
Senior Blake Pierce rounded out the top-five to lead LaCrosse with a time of 16:46.6. Logan’s Sam Pinkerton finished seventh in 17:06.1, Fowler’s Elijah Zortman ran eighth in 17:09.1, Canton-Galva junior Morgan Becker placed ninth in 17:12.9, and Pratt-Skyline senior Jackson Wallace capped the top-10 in 17:20.6 as the only T-Bird in the race.
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