Not a Perfecto, But St. John-Beloit Wins 1A Title

It wasn't quite perfect, but what St. John-Beloit did at the Kansas class 1A state championships Saturday in Wamego was pretty dominant.

Senior David Lutgen led a parade of St. John-Beloit runners to the finish, winning the individual title in 16:22.3 then turning to watch three teammates finish in the top 8 for a team score of 19. St. John-Hudson placed second with 44 points, followed by Wallace County at 53.

Lutgen and mates had entered the 1A meet with an outside shot at sweeping the top four spots, which in class 1A, would be a perfect team score of 10. But the field of runners had other thoughts as Brodric Shirley of Frankfort finished second in 17:02.2, Collin Oswalt of Central Christian was third at 17:05.7, and Trevor Fischer of Trego County was fourth in 17:08.2.

St. John-Beloit came pouring in soon after that, however. Freshman Caleb Eiler was fifth in 17:22.8, senior Adam Bates was sixth in 17:32.2, and sophomore Brandon Bates was eighth at 17:39.5.

A perfect score is not a realistic expectation, especially at a state championship meet, but it certainly did lend intrigue to the class 1A boys race.

St. John-Beloit successfully defended the class 1A title that they won a year ago. St. John-Hudson was the class 2A state champion last year, but will settle for second place in 1A this year. St. John-Hudson was led by sophomore AJ Miller, who placed tenth in 17:47.6.

In the girls' 1A race, Sylvan-Lucas sophomore Autumn Princ won her fourth state title -- second consecutive in cross country -- in a time of 18:37.1. She won by 1:43 over runner-up Robyn Selzer of Wallace County (20:10.0). Paige Harris of Ashland was third in 20:53.6.

Princ is now halfway to becoming a four-time state cross country champion in Kansas. Only five girls ever have accomplished that feat, and so far she has not been challenged at the state meet. She also won the 1600 and 3200 meter state titles in track and field last spring.

Greeley County won the girls' team title in class 1A with 34 points. They avoided the chaos for second and third that took place between Ingalls and Wallace County -- which tied with 53 points. Ingalls got the runner-up trophy based on a fifth-runner tiebreaker.