Saturday morning’s regional cross country meets in Great Bend turned out to be family affairs. In the Class 5A races, brother-sister duo Trey and Alexis Rios won individual titles and helped Maize South to a pair of team titles. Trego’s Wyndom and Sybil Giefer won the 2A races.
Both Mav squads had little trouble winning team titles. The boys scored 42 points to finish ahead of Newton’s 54 points. Great Bend qualified for state in third place with 57 points. The Lady Mavs cruised to the crown with just 36 points. Maize followed with 61 points to edge Great Bend by a single placing.
Both Rios led from start to finish. Trey, a senior won by 22 seconds in 16:31.71. Newton senior Erik Jantz grabbed the silver in 16:53.77, and Great Bend freshman Kaiden Esfeld ran third in 16:55.21.
“My coach and my dad, who’s a big expert on running, said based on the field that’s out here, just take control early,” Trey said.
The Mavs placed six runners in the top-15. Junior Elijah Clark finished fifth in 17:06.93, sophomore Vaughn Decker ran 10th in 17:15.80, senior Jackson Wedge placed 12th in 17:20.10, and senior Jayce Meyer was the final team scorer, running 14th in 17:29.47. Sophomore William Schaeffer ran behind him in 17:33.08.
Newton senior Widly Nocenti placed fourth in 17:00.25, and Railer senior Eli Blaufuss finished sixth in 17:10.02. Great Bend seniors Sage Cauley and Evan Hammond ran seventh and eighth, respectively, in 17:10.35, and 17:11.45.
Trey Rios, a 19th-place finisher at state last fall, is eyeing some much bigger prizes next weekend. “Hopefully top-five, and if everything goes right, maybe a state championship,” he said.
In the girls’ race, the junior Rios won her second regional title in three years. She cruised to the win in 19:18.12, with Maize sophomore Zoie Ecord bringing home the silver in 19:51.69. Great Bend sophomore Emilia Diaz won the bronze in 20:06.78.
“Usually I like to lead wire to wire,” Rios said. “I like to start with a faster first mile. That already separates me and if I need to slow down a little I can start keeping a pace and keep them away.”
All five Lady Mav scorers landed in the top-13. Freshman Bowi Sargent ran fourth in 20:15.44, followed by sophomore Britton Kelly in sixth with a time of 20:23.33. Sophomore Sage Pauly ran 12th in 20:53.06, and junior Claire Dingler captured the final team points in 21:03.62 for 13th.
Maize senior Aria Sheldon won the bronze in 20:15.96, and Eagle senior Anna Reimer finished 11th in 20:50.12. Great Bend’s McKenna Esfeld and Emma Loomis ran eighth and ninth, respectively, in 20:45.29 and 20:47.79. Hays freshman Amelia Jaeger placed seventh in 20:23.43, and Salina Central senior Kadyn Cobb capped the top-10 in 20:48.79.
With the solid team finish Saturday, Rios has high expectations for her squad heading into state. A seventh-place individual finisher at state the last two years, she’s also hoping to break out of that rut.
“Going in, I don’t want to get seventh,” she said. “That’s the main thing. Our girls are doing really well this year so I’m hoping we can all run well and keep a positive attitude and maybe get a plaque even.”