Harkin, Wingrove Power Way to 6A Titles

Blue Valley's Tori Wingrove runs to her first-ever state championship

If you were hoping for drama in the class 6A Kansas cross country state meet, you had to be a little patient on Saturday at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence.

Manhattan's Daniel Harkin and Blue Valley's Tori Wingrove powered their way to dominating individual wins, but things got a little more exciting waiting for the team titles to be decided.

When it was said and done, Washburn Rural's boys and Mill Valley's girls were crowned team champions, highlighting an exciting meet that saw its fair share of nailbiters.

Washburn Rural, which finished third at its regional meet a week earlier but had won Topeka City and Centennial League titles this year, was a distant third in MileSplit's pre-meet virtual rankings. But seniors Caleb Wright (16:16) and Rylan Brown (16:20) placed sixth and eighth to key Washburn to a team total of 86 and a convincing win over pre-meet favorites Olathe South (99) and Mill Valley (111).

Washburn Rural's scorers included Jordan Tremblay (24th, 16:36), Arrik White (28th, 16:41) and Alexander Holmes (51st, 17:06). Olathe South's top finisher was Jacob Berezoski, who placed 19th (16:34), but then the next four runners came in 23 seconds afterwards to key the runner-up finish.

Mill Valley's girls got a runner-up finish from 2018 state champ Katie Schwartzkopf (18:41) and fourth place from senior Morgan Koca (18:56) as the Jaguars won with 53 points. Olathe West was the runner-up with 76 and Olathe North third at 81.

Molly Ricker (15th, 19:35) was the only other medalist for Mill Valley, which is 2-for-2 in class 6A after spending most of its recent past in class 5A.

Olathe West was led by freshman Aubree Blackman in third (18:53), Ava Wardlaw in eighth (19:07) and Charis Robinson in 13th (19:29). But Mill Valley's depth was the difference as Olathe West fell just short of the upset.

It was clear very early that there would be no upsets for the class 6A individual titles. Harkin and Wingrove have been widely considered the top runners in this division for most of the year. Harkin had run 15:11 to win the Missouri Southern Stampede earlier this season.

On Saturday, Harkin ran nearly a minute faster than he ran at the Rim Rock Classic in late September, surging to a commanding lead by the first mile mark and finishing in 15:25.24. It's the first state cross country title for the junior, who was second last year and had won the 3200 meter run on the track last spring. He also received the Bob Timmons Award given each year to the athlete who runs the fastest time at Rim Rock in the 3A, 5A and 6A state meets.

The boys' race got a lot more exciting for second place. Wichita North's Michael Iyali and Lawrence Free State's Charles Johnson seemed to be in a two-man battle for the runner-up spot, but Olathe Northwest's Logan Read joined the party along the Jim Ryun skyline. Read then put on a blistering kick for second place, finishing in 15:58.1, while Iyali (15:58.46) placed third for the second year in a row. Johnson was just a couple steps behind in 16:00.61.

Mill Valley's Darius Hightower rounded out the top five in 16:09.85.

Wingrove also took control early and cruised to a comfortable 17 second win, clocking 18:24.62. It's the first state title for Wingrove, and a convincing win over the tough Schwartzkopf, who always seems to save her best for the Rim Rock Farm course.

For complete results from the class 6A state meet, check out the results page on Kansas MileSplit.

Kansas MileSplit's Matt Goeckel and Alycia Jiskra also contributed to this report.