The Marion cross-country team made the trek to Meade Saturday for a Class 2A regional meet and returned home with a state qualifier.
Senior Colin Williams qualified for state by finishing fifth in a field of 70 runners. He crossed the finish line in 18 minutes, 45 seconds, which was about 14 seconds from his season personal-best time. Meade’s Ethan Thompson won the regional race with a time of 17:05.
Coach Dmitry Bucklin said the interval training the team did in the week and a half leading up to regionals helped Williams and his teammates.
“I think part of (Colin’s) strategy was just to get out of his head a little bit and go out and run hard and just stay with people,” Bucklin said, adding Williams’ pace was consistent despite the windy conditions that day. Bucklin also spoke well of Williams’ work ethic and positive outlook.
“He has a lot of strengths, but I think the biggest one is self-motivation and just overall (being) a positive person,” he said. “
Freshman Colton Boudreaux wrapped up his first season of high school competition with a 65th-place finish in 24:07.
Meanwhile, in the girls’ race, sophomore Bethany Grimmett trimmed about 6 seconds from her previous season’s best. She crossed the finish line in 50th place among a field of 54 runners in 30:33.50.
Freshman Nathan Shields and foreign exchange student Elisa Ortiz did not compete because of injuries.
Coming—Williams will run at the Class 2A meet at the Wamego Country Club Saturday, returning to state competition after qualifying as a sophomore in 2015.
The 2A boys’ race is scheduled for 10:35 a.m.
“(Colin’s) had the training,” Bucklin said. “He knows what to do, so we’re not necessarily going to go out and have extravagant workouts, because at this point, if he doesn’t have it, he doesn’t have it, and he has it. So we’re just going to maintain what he does have.”