Senior Cormick Logue from Girard is now the favorite to win the class 3A title, but we no longer get to see another thrilling rematch for the class 4A title in a similar manner to last year. Photo by Alex Walters.
Week 4 is a pivotal time in Kansas high school sports, because this is when KSHSAA counts students and releases their annual classifications, dictating which division each school will compete in. Today's release wasn't as earth-shattering as the classification shift two years back, in fact, most classes only saw one or two schools change. There were, however, some contenders shuffling between classes this year that will factor in heavily at the state meets next month.
The only newcomers in 6A are the Wichita Northwest Grizzlies. This team doesn't bring much firepower to meets, but the Wichita School District hasn't had much of a chance to prove themselves yet this season. The bigger story is who they replaced: Mill Valley. The Jaguars are a perineal power in cross country, and this year is no different. Both boys and girls were in the race for a podium spot, ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in 6A. Without them, the podium race becomes a little thinner, but will open the door for teams like Manhattan's boys to make a podium run or Olathe West's girls to grab their first title. Mill Valley's lack of standout front runners keeps the individual race about the same.
There were two movers into 5A this year, Mill Valley of course is one, and KC Piper is the other, coming from 4A. McPherson moved down a class, while Wichita Northwest moved up. Unfortunately for Piper, their state path becomes much tougher. The pirates have a solid 4A level girls team that had a chance to qualify, but 5A is a different animal. Mill Valley, on the other hand, might actually have an easier path to state this season. While 5A is often the state's toughest division because of their numerous private schools, 6A is packed this year. The Jaguar men have St. Thomas Aquinas and DeSoto to deal with. The girls, who are quite familiar with the #1 spot on the all-class leaderboards, were in for a battle in 6A, with three other elite teams. In 5A, they immediately become the favorite to win the division, but 5A has plenty of tough teams that won't give up that easily. Individually, there was a little movement, expect Mill Valley's Katie Schwartzkopf to contend for the title and Bridget Roy to be in the top-10.
As mentioned above, 4A says farewell to KC Piper in exchange for McPherson. A fair trade on the girls side, with the two being nearly identical. On the boys side McPherson comes in with a chance to make the state field, though the south-central area of the state has several good teams, they may have to get lucky with a friendly regional draw. On the bottom end, things get very interesting. Hello Concordia, and goodbye Girard. That's right, the top boys runner in the division and a podium-challenging team have left the building. This likely makes the individual race a battle of the Tanners, with Tanner Newkirk and Tanner Lindahl leading their teams in a battle for the individual and team titles. The newcomers, Concordia, are in a development stage of their program and likely won't factor in at the state level.
Hello, Cormick Logue. Have you come to terrorize 3A again? The Girard senior was 4th in the 3A race as a sophomore, but has distinguished himself as a member of the Kansas elite. His teammates are no slouch either. Their average of 17:11 puts them solidly in the talk for the 3A podium. Southeast of Saline isn't scared though, as the SouthBeasts still hold 4 of the top-10 times in the division without injured state champ Dylan Sprecker. Girard's girls are likely to make the state field as well. At the bottom end, Rossville, Oskaloosa, and Ellsworth join the fray from 2A, while Maur Hill-Mount Academy, Atchison County, and Humboldt fall into the lower division. Humboldt and Rossville's girls will bring something to the table, at the very least competing for the state field. Rossville's Julia Streit, now a senior, will aim to improve on her 12th place finish from 2A last season.
With Bishop Seabury, Sacred Heart, Pittsburg-Colgan, Hutch Trinity, Maranatha, and KC Christian, you'd think 2A has enough private schools. Well, apparently, they don't. So now we welcome in Berean Academy, a juggernaut from 1A. Joining Berean in the move from 1A is Valley Falls and Washington County. As mentioned in the 3A section, Maur Hill-Mount Academy, Atchison County, and Humboldt have joined from the class above. The Berean Warriors become the overwhelming boys favorite, as well as an outside contender on the girls front. Atchison County is in a good spot to make the state field as well. Berean's Andrew Harder and Drew Janzen join the top-10 individuals, along with Humboldt's Drew Wilhite. The girls individual race, while shaping up to be an interesting one, was virtually unchanged.
While 2A is grumbling about the addition of Berean, 1A is celebrating their departure. Losing Berean, Washington Co, and Valley Falls comes at the cost of gaining Skyline, Jackson Heights, and Canton-Galva. For the boys, the team race is wide open, with Meade as the leader right now. New KSHSAA school Cair Paravel is looking strong after winning a meet at The Orchard in week 3, but still has work to do to make the podium. Individually, look for Jackson Heights' Daniel Little and Canton-Galva's Morgan Becker to be in the hunt for the individual title. For the girls, not much has changed outside of Berean's absence. Doniphan West and Lincoln will be battling it out for the top spot without them.