Meade repeats as Class 1A XC champs; Quinter girls win title
VICTORIA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Meade boys dominated the 2020 Class 1A State Cross Country Championships for just the second title in school history. With virtually all runners supposed to be back in 2021, expectations were to remain high.
Then the unexpected happened. In August, sophomore Trent Roberts was seriously injured in an ATV accident. Roberts, the leading scorer at state in 2020, has been confined to a wheelchair since.
Roberts was on hand Saturday in Victoria as the Buffaloes finished just a point shy of last year’s total to win their second-straight title with 31 points. Quinter grabbed second place with 40 points, and Wichita Classical scored 96 points for third.
(Trent’s) accident happened five days before our first practice,” said Meade coach Garrett Daugherty. “He’s been in Nebraska since basically the beginning of the school year. He got back two weeks ago from rehab in Madonna in Lincoln, Neb.
“He’s been with the team a little bit, and he’s been in school, but today was the first meet he was able to make. It motivated our kids. We’ve been running for him all year. I had him give a little pep talk before and they all took it to heart. That was a big thing for us.”
The Buffs had a little extra incentive after a 4-point loss to Quinter in last weekend’s Ness City regional meet. That loss helped push Meade over the hump in Saturday’s even bigger race.
“I think it motivated us a little more,” Daugherty said. “Last year was only our second time we’ve won in cross country and we were young. This year we were even younger. Hopefully we’re building a program that lasts a long time. At the same time, they go out and put in the work every day. That’s all we can ask.”
Buffalo sophomore Logan Meade paced his team in fifth overall with a time of 16:57.2. Sophomore Jobsosiah Muthiani ran 17th overall in 17:52.2, and freshman Keith Brock missed the top-20 by seven seconds with a 21st-place finish in 18:07.4. Anthony Godfrey capped the state championship score in 25th with a time of 18:13.2.
Spearville senior Corbin Ricke claimed the individual gold by 15 seconds in 16:25.6. Ricke went largely undefeated as a senior, only losing in the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree, a race that featured some 350 top runners from around the region.
“It was a little bit humbling, showing me I still have a lot of work to do,” Ricke said. “It was a fun race, really hilly. It showed me what a college course at that level looked like.”
Ricke improved from a 14th-place finish in Class 2A last year, and he moved up the ladder during the track season last spring.
“I took training a lot more seriously,” he said. “I ran throughout the winter and stayed consistent. Track season went really well for me and I got third in the mile there. This summer I stayed consistent and tried to raise my miles.”
Canton-Galva’s Christian Darrah finished second in 16:41.4, followed by Central Christian’s Blake Yoder in 16:48.3 for the bronze. Fowler’s Elijah Zortman ran fourth in 16:52.1.
Meade and Quinter finished head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Eli Gruenbacher ran ninth overall for the Bulldogs in 17:21.0, and Matthew Elder collected a medal in 20th with a time of 18:00.1. Stewart Bowman finished two runners later in 18:09.9, and Micah Simon ran 31st for the final team points in 18:18.3.
Quinter girls make big improvements for title
The Lady Bulldogs had to settle for seventh place in 2020. Saturday in Victoria, Quinter was one of just four teams with just four runners. The Lady Bulldogs still cruised to the win with 60 points. Reigning champion Doniphan West edged Pretty Prairie by a single point for the second-place trophy with 79 points.
Quinter won even without a runner in the top-10. Leah Anstaett led the team in 12th overall with a time of 21:39.9, followed by Brooklyn Countryman in 21st in 22:06.4, just a second behind the final medalist. Saige Betz ran 33rd in 23:04.7, and Jessa Borger completed scoring in 44th with a time of 23:51.5.
Lincoln’s Jaycee Vath won the title in 2020 and handed out medals Saturday. She passed the torch to Golden Plains sophomore Emma Weiner, who improved on a third-place finish last fall to win Saturday’s championship by 26 seconds in 20:04.7.
“All the kids in my school said I could do it,” Weiner said. “They had a big pep rally for me. I knew I had to at least try for them.”
Weiner picked up some ankle problems mid-week without time to do anything about it. She battled through the pain Saturday to lead start to finish.
“My plan was to just run the race the way I always do,” she said. “That’s just what seemed to fit me so I just went from there.”
Doniphan West’s Elle Williams had to settle for the silver for a second-straight season in 20:30.0. Pretty Prairie’s Abigail White ran third in 20:35.9, and Ingalls’ Courtney Bailey finished fourth in 20:54.1. Macksville’s Madison Butler rounded out the top-five in 21:01.8.
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