The top 3A runners from the state gathered at the Wamego Country Club on Saturday to see how they stacked up over the five-kilometer course. Warmer temperatures, strong winds, and hills galore faced the Falcon cross country runners, but they faced it head on.
The boy’s race was first with 115 runners on the line. Sophomore Kyle Haner and freshman Lucas Hassler both found themselves stuck in a pack early on. For the first time this season, there were enough runners running their pace to make them be attentive to their every move. They rolled over the hills, and found the grit to hold off and to pass runners on both inclines and descents. Kyle reached the finish in 35th at the 8th sophomore in the state, with Lucas following in 55th as the 9th freshman. These young runners came to a course they had never seen before, against the best competition in the state, and laid it on the line. That kind of courage is going to help them continue to build themselves toward future successes.
Next up were the 112 runners in the girl’s race. Junior Lily Judd and sophomore Emma Bailey both put themselves in a fighting position early in the race, making big moves within the first mile. The limits of their toughness was continually being tested. Lily and Emma crossed the line in 29th and 44th, respectively. This incredible duo has done fantastic things during the competitive season. From finding a way to dual-sport to returning from ACL surgery, this has been another one for the books, and I am thankful that there is still one more chapter of cross country that will have both of them in it together.
Changing the state location mid-season to a course that was unknown to the team provided an additional challenge, but we are grateful that we had the chance to compete through the end in such an uncertain season. I am beyond proud of the performances and the willpower of these athletes. The Falcon runners have brought their coaches so much joy and given us an exciting and memorable season.
High School Girls: Lily Judd (29th, 22:09), Emma Bailey (44th, 22:37)
High School Boys: Kyle Haner (35th, 18:20), Lucas Hassler (55th, 19:02)