Race to the finish

The Goessel girls’ cross-country team won the Class 1A state title for the first time in school history Saturday at the Wamego Country Club. Pictured, from left, are: Maddy Meier, Julia Nightengale, Lauren Rymill, Jenn Meysing, Porclein Unruh, Edel Miller, Elyse Boden and Katherine Manis. Goessel was one of three Marion County schools represented in state cross-country races Saturday.Three Marion County schools were represented in state cross-country races Saturday at the Wamego Country Club, in what may have been one of the warmest days for the state finals in recent memory.

Goessel—The Bluebird girls won the Class 1A state title Saturday for the first time in school history with a team score of 60, five points ahead of Ingalls (65).

“Going into this meet, the girls felt they had an opportunity for something special and wanted to bring home a team plaque for Goessel girls’ cross country,” coach Brian Lightner said. “As the race progressed, the reality of this opportunity became apparent as they navigated the switchbacks and were able to hold their own through the second mile.

“We knew if we could make it to mile three in the position that we wanted, then the excitement of the finish and surge of adrenaline would carry us the rest of the way.”

Jenn Meysing paved the way by placing 14th among a field of 80 runners with a time of 22 minutes, 32 seconds. She lowered her state time from last year by 1:49.

Julia Nightengale trimmed 49 seconds from her time a year ago, placing 18th (22:43). Katherine Manis was 31st (24:20), Lauren Rymill 32nd (24:27), Elyse Boden 39th (25:10), Edel Miller 56th (27:09, 35 seconds faster than last year) and Porclein Unruh 64th (28:23).

“Leading up to the race, we talked about pushing through that second mile and then hanging on with every ounce of energy and determination (they could) muster,” Lightner said. “The girls gave everything they had and left it all on the course. I praise them for their decision to surrender to the team goals and run for a greater cause.”

Meanwhile, Devon LeRoy competed as an individual in the boys’ race. He finished 40th of 91 with a time of 19:33, which was 23 seconds faster than last year.

“The competition was tight towards the top, and mixed with a difficult and hilly course, Devon ran a little slower than his season average,” Lightner said. “But (he) still ran hard to finish in the top half of the competitors, even beating two of the runners that he had finished behind last week in the regional meet.”

Hillsboro—Senior Jona­than Hinerman earned his first medal at state by placing 11th in a field of 99 runners in the Class 2A boys’ race.

Hinerman, a two-year state qualifier, crossed the finish line in 18:14. Frank Cuevas of Kiowa County won the race in 16:41.

“Jon ran a strong first mile, which he has all year,” coach Robert Haude said. “This allowed him to maintain good positioning for the remainder of the race. Jon did a tremendous job preparing for the week prior to the state meet. Jon became a stronger runner mentally throughout the season, which factored into his ability to commit at the highest level at the state meet.”

Centre—Junior CJ Thompson finished 64th among a field of 91 runners in the Class 1A boys’ race with a time of 20:53.

“White not a PR, (that) was a good time for a hilly course on a windy day,” coach Julie Keithline said.

Don Ratzlaff contributed to this story.

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