Cross country teams around the state held their breath this week, waiting for the new KSHSAA Classifications to drop. Every year the changes have big effects on track and field and cross country, with schools finding their way into smaller classifications and winning big, as seen with Olpe and Scott City in recent years on the track. This year, though, the state has adopted a new system. In 1A-3A, each classification found themselves with 20 new schools from the class above, sparking a tremor of changes in the individual and team rankings.
In 1A, the story is on the girls side. Berean Academy becomes the new team favorite, but Lincoln brings a solid 4 as well, and in 1A that's all you need. Lincoln's front runners Jaycee Vath and Aubry Donley are now two of the best in the class. For the boys, Berean Academy could be a podium team, too; but they'll have a hard time chasing St John-Hudson. Burden-Central's Clark Loewer now has the #2 time in 1A behind Central Christian's Collin Oswalt.
For 2A, Central Heights becomes a huge boys' favorite. The Vikings have a team average that is 35 seconds better than anyone else in the division. Nobody will be challenging the individual dominance of Yates Center's Hadley Splechter, though. On the girls' side, Central Heights' Lily Meyer steals the #4 spot in 2A, and several top-10 spots open up in the absence of Lincoln and Berean Academy. Nobody is stepping up to challenge Bennington for the team title, though.
You thought 3A was tough last year? Well, wait until you see this year's standings. The boys team race gets thicker with Smoky Valley, Hugoton, Girard, Burlington, and Clay Center all coming in averaging under 19:00. That brings the total to 13, and we're only halfway through the season. Individually, Riverton's JP Rutledge still holds a substantial lead, but Matthew Oglesby from Galena and Girard's Cormick Logue land healthy spots in the top-10. On the girls side, things get tougher as well. Smoky Valley and Clay Center bring in teams that can compete for the podium. Frontenac's Jessica Peterson and Girard's Rachael Stephans both take top-10 spots in the rankings, but will have some work to do if they want to catch 3A leader Hannah Burks.
KSHSAA's Full Classifications can be found at http://kshsaa.org/Public/General/Classifications.cfm .