Riley County's Brett Kulp runs to win at his home invitational against SE of Saline's Luke Gleason. Kulp pulled away with the win in a time of 17:14.30. Photo by Jessica Sprecker.
Week 6 was a busy one this year, with 1A-3A representing in 13 meets. As the regular season comes to a close, it's the final turning point of the season, the last chance to prove yourself before the championship season. Several runners stepped up to prove themselves this week, but possibly the most impressive was a pair of second place finishers. Erin Topham of Berean Academy took Great Bend's Mayra Ramirez to the wire, finishing in 19:18 and setting a season best by 50 seconds. Topham hopes to lead her team to a title this year, but the battle with Lincoln at state will be tough. The other second-place standout was Girard's Cormick Logue, who pushed Hadley Splechter to the wire at Pleasanton. Logue finished in a season-best 16:04, just 8 seconds back from Splechter's 15:56. An impressive jump for the sophomore that hopes to lead his team to a 3A podium finish.
Another meet full of runners who stepped up was Osage City. The course is known to run a little fast, but that doesn't change the fact that the home team boys clocked a 25-second 1-5 split. The Indians got 3rd in the meet, but had a solid showing. Anderson County won, Northern Heights was second, and Santa Fe Trail and Silver Lake also looked good. We'll see how good the Osage City and Northern Heights really are when they travel to Council Grove for the Flint Hills League Championships, where Central Heights is a heavy favorite. Also at Osage City, Rayna Jasper led her Anderson County team to a win over a surging Osage City. Unfortunately the lady Indians lose a top runner in Emily Punches for the season, as she will compete for Burlingame in the postseason.
At Pleasanton, Girard's girls showed up and won behind a strong performance of 19:57 from Rachael Stephans. Central Heights freshman Lily Meyer won the meet in 19:42. Speaking of Central Heights, their boys continued their undefeated streak and improved their average time to 17:27. Girard wasn't bad behind Cormick Logue, but still finished 18 points back.
Riley County was a muddy mess on Saturday, but ran the meet anyway. No need to worry about tearing up the course before regionals, since they surprisingly aren't hosting one this year. Riley County senior Brett Kulp ran a 17:14 to win his home meet over Southeast of Saline's Luke Gleason (who finished without shoes). The Trojans won the meet. The winner on the girls side was Washington County's Natalie Harlan in 21:22. Rock Creek took the team title over Fredonia, who travelled over 3 hours to run there. The Yellow Jackets were on double-duty this week after a win at Eureka on Tuesday.
At Cimarron, the home team boys won behind a 1st place finish from Justin Burman(17:17). Cimarron's girls were edged out by 2 points by Southwestern Heights. Ashland's Paige Harris led the way in 19:54.
Lastly we have the Sterling Invitational, where St John-Hudson finished 2nd behind Buhler, but their 17:21 average was enough to bury anyone's hopes at knocking them off for the 1A title. Buhler also won the girls side, but Berean (2nd) and Ellinwood (3rd) posted strong finishes, and both are shooting for a podium spot this year.
This week, League bragging rights are on the line. This will separate the contenders from the pretenders, and everyone will be bringing their best from here on out. With three weeks to go in the 2018 season, it's sure to be a fun finish.
Kansas XC did a great job submitting results this week, but we're still looking for results from the Lakin, Phillipsburg, and Hoxie meets. If you have a HTML/PDF(non-scanned) version of any of these, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.