Marion’s cross-country season came to a close at the Class 3A regional hosted by Council Grove at Canning Creek Cove Saturday.
The top three teams and next five individuals not on qualifying teams punched tickets to state.
“I am very proud of how each runner performed this meet and this season,” coach Dmitry Bucklin said. “Every runner should be very proud of how they finished Saturday’s race and how they finished with the season.”
Colin Williams ran his best race of the season, trimming nearly 22 seconds from his previous-best time. He covered the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 20 seconds, good for 11th place among a field of 94 runners. Williams was one place short of qualifying for state, crossing the finish line just 2 seconds behind Oskaloosa’s Braeden Pfau. West Franklin’s William Bailey won the meet with a time of 16:54.
“Colin had a great start during the race and was in the mid-thirties for a good mile of the race,” Bucklin said. “He was actually able to pass many of those runners and finished in 11th place.”
Also competing for Marion, Ethan Darnall finished 60th (20:16), Devin Regnier 83rd (21:22) and Tyler Arocha 86th (22:02).
Council Grove won the meet with a team score of 54. Richmond-Central Heights (96) and West Franklin (97) also qualified as teams. Marion did not field a full team.
Meanwhile, Emily Hague led the girls with a 20th-place finish among a field of 66 runners with a time of 22:36. West Franklin’s Molly Rossman won the meet (20:25).
Meggan Frese finished about one second shy of her season-best, placing 28th in 23:22.
Bethany Grimmett placed 43rd place with a time of 25:06, while AJ Arterburn turned in a season-best performance, trimming 20 seconds from her time to finish 60th in 27:26.
Luisa Junqueira broke the 30-minute mark for the first time this season, shaving 21 seconds from her previous-best to place 63rd in 29:53.
As a team, the girls finished ninth with a score of 175. Perry-Lecompton won with 78. Southeast of Saline (79) and Mission Valley (104) also qualified as teams.
For three seniors—Hague, Arocha and Regnier—it was their final race in a Warrior uniform.
“Emily finished her high school cross-country career well,” Bucklin said. “I know she didn’t get the outcome that she wanted, but it was great to see her improve through the entire season.
“Tyler also had a great season. He was able to peak the last few meets and really dropped his time substantially.
“Devin did a fantastic job for his first year in cross country. It was great watching him compete and work hard at every race.”
Bucklin said he looks forward to building upon his first coaching season next year.
“I look forward to seeing what the future holds next year for cross country,” he said. “As I reflect on the season, I can’t help but be very proud of the work our runners did this year. I am extremely excited for next year.”