Small Division Schools Find Success at Big Meets

The divide between small and large schools in Kansas is fairly evident. Large schools and small schools tend to have their own meets or divisions and rarely mix. Every once in a while, though, small schools have a shot at the big dogs, and that was the case in several of this week's meets. The highlight race came from a pair of small-school runners in the large-school division at the MSSU Stampede. Yates Center's Hadley Splechter edged Baxter Springs' JP Rutledge in a blazing finish. Splechter won with a Kansas-leading time of 15:28, and Rutledge was second in 15:31.

The Hays Invitational was another mixed meet, where Norton's boys and Hays-TMP's girls put up a good fight against a slew of 5A and 6A schools. Norton's Lexi Kats won the girls division in 20:19, just ahead of Colby runner Lara Murdock (20:35). While Dodge City won the meet, TMP's girls averaged 23:07, just missing the 2nd place spot to Garden City. On the boys' side, Norton's Connor Hall took 3rd overall in 17:29, leading his team to a 3rd place finish and knocking off Olathe North in the process. The Bluejays are looking good this season, already averaging 18:45.

At more traditional small-school meets, the home teams grabbed plenty of hardward. Bridgette Lawson and Clark Loewer won their home meet at Burden-Central with times of 23:27 and 17:44 respectively. St John-Hudson's boys won their meet, averaging a solid 18:46. Max Dutton of Sterling won the individual title. For the girls, Ellinwood's Ashtin Klepper and Erin Hammeke went 1-2 to lead the Eagles to a team title.

The St Marys boys and Rossville girls took the team titles at Onaga, where 1A scoring was used. Tyler Simmons from Washington County won the boys race, and Olivia Kuckelman from Axtell won the girls. Both could be contenders for 1A individual titles this season.

Ethan Thompson continued his tear this week, winning the Hugoton invite by nearly a minute. Liberal took the boys title, while Scott Community took the girls title. The Beavers averaged 22:53 behind the overall winner Dulce Ayala (22:04).

Southeast of Saline easily won the Bennington invite behind a 17:21 effort from overall winner Luke Gleason. The Trojans are the first small school to take their average below 18:00, clocking in at 17:59. Inman's Nicholas Martisko put up a good fight with Gleason, but finished 5 seconds back at 17:26. Lincoln's girls looked good once again, with Jaycee Vath winning and the four averaging 21:21. Without a fifth runner however, they couldn't score at this meet, so Bennington took the title. Lincoln has a strong chance to drop to 1A this year, where only 4 runners score, so they'll be solid contenders in October.

Lastly, rivalry bragging rights were up for grabs at Hiawatha this week, and the home team Red Hawks showed up. Justin Hodge won the boys race in 17:31, and Elizabeth Kettler won the girls in 21:11. Hiawatha also took home both team titles, with the girls avenging a week one loss to Big 7 rival Sabetha.

With KSHSAA enrollment count day coming up this week, the new classifications will be rolling out soon. With 4A-6A changing sizes, the entire landscape of Kansas sports is about to change. School size often plays a big role in the smaller classes, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the coming weeks.

Milesplit is still awaiting full results from Herington, Hiawatha, Bennington, Clay Center, McLouth, Northern Heights, and Chaparral. If you have these, (preferably in HTML/PDF format) please send them to jmadison@milesplit.com


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