They say good things come to those who wait. For Henry Nelson of Bishop-Seabury, the waiting is over.
The senior won the Kansas class 2A cross country title on Saturday at the Wamego Country Club, capping a career in which he has progressed from tenth to fourth to third at this same meet.
Nelson had been chasing two of the best that class 2A had ever seen - Yates Center's Hadley Splechter and Meade's Ethan Thompson - the past two years, but this year proved to be his own shining moment.
He broke away from a pack of challengers one mile into the race and went on to win in 16:36.09, which was 26 seconds better than runner-up Trevor Pentlin of Jefferson County North (17:02). The win makes Nelson the first ever individual state cross country champion from Bishop-Seabury High School (the school won a 1A girls team title in 2011).
Nicholas Martisko of Inman won a mad sprint to the finish for third place, clocking 17:06.70, while Daniel Little of Jackson Heights was fourth at 17:06.89, and Isiah Barrera of Stanton County finished fifth at 17:09.00.
Barrera's Stanton County team rode his top five finish to the team title, scoring 40 points to edge a great effort by Central Heights, which finished with 48. Kansas City Christian got the third place trophy with 122 points, just four points better than McLouth.
Freshman Suzanne Farnham placed fourth in 19:35 to help Stanton County complete a sweep of the team titles. Stanton County's girls had a little more breathing room than the boys, scoring 80 points to beat Bennington, which had 106. Central Heights had 110 for third, just five points ahead of Rossville.
Erin Hammeke of Ellinwood fought off a stiff challenge from Ellis freshman Madi Russell to win the class 2A girls individual title. Hammeke finished in 19:12, while Russell was not far behind in 19:20. Trego Community's Sybil Giefer, who had the division's best time coming in to state, finished in third with a time of 19:37. Giefer ran despite suffering from the effects of the flu for most of the past week.
See the complete results of the class 2A state championships on Kansas MileSplit's results page.
Kansas MileSplit's Alex Walters also contributed to this report.