Girard senior Cormick Logue (front) fought off a strong challenge from Smoky Valley's Ryan Heline (863) to win the class 3A state title Saturday in Wamego. (Kansas MileSplit photo by Alexander Walters)
There's a saying among cross country runners and fans in Kansas' class 3A division.
3A never disappoints.
That statement rang true again on Saturday as the races for individual state titles were as exciting as ever. For the boys, Girard superstar Cormick Logue was the heavy favorite for the individual title, and the senior did, indeed, reign supreme on the day. But he had to battle for the bulk of the state championship race with a slew of runners to earn the title of 3A champion.
Logue played his tactical cards correctly, opening up on the downhills and making the others battle into the wind on the uphills to catch back up. The smart tactics proved to work as Logue pulled away in the final mile of the 5000 meter race. He would go on to finish the race in 16:17.
Downes and Heline battled down the stretch just like they did last week at regionals, when Heline won by fractions of a second. This time Downes won the sprint at the finish, 16:35.17 to 16:35.97.
Heline's finish was the beginnings of a wild team finish. Southeast of Saline, the two time defending champions with all seven runners back from last year's team, has had a series of misfortunes that had loosened its stranglehold on the division.
Southeast of Saline junior Dylan Sprecker, the 2019 individual champion, was in action for just the third time this season after dealing with a stress fracture and one-week quarantine. He was the first purple jersey across the line in fourth with a time of 17:12 -- three seconds ahead of Wichita Collegiate's CJ Meyer.
Sprecker's return was key as teammate Dominic
Jackson went down with a terrible foot injury midway through the race, eventually finishing in 100th place; Jackson had finished fourth at last year's state meet.
Southeast of Saline's misfortune opened the door for Smoky Valley to pack their 3-4-5 runners (Justice Gardner, Tytus Reed and Stephen Peterson) ahead of the Trojan's fourth runner. All-State finishes from Luke Gleason and Damion Jackson, however, were able to preserve a four-point victory for Southeast of Saline. Scott Community, led by Roberto Apodaca, took home the third place trophy.
This was the third straight title for Southeast of Saline, and their eighth all-time.
That win was then matched by....Southeast of Saline's girls, who also captured
their eighth class 3A title.
In a race dominated by individuals, Jentrie Alderson was the first team scorer across the line. The first six placers were not on a team, so Alderson's seventh place was good enough for the coveted 1 team point. While Alderson was the only all-state performer for the Trojans, her teammates competed and filtered out ahead of Scott City's runners. The Beavers were 16 points back in second place.
Silver Lake had three strong runners, but their 1-5 spread of 3:52 cost them, as Cimarron snagged the third place trophy with 89 points.
Another school strong through three runners was Colby. But, that was Colby's entire girls' roster this season, each qualifying for state as individuals. Lara Murdock was the individual champion for the Eagles. She took
an early lead and never looked back, winning in 19:36. Murdock missed all of
last season after her runner-up finish in 2018. She took back the state title won last year by Southeast of Saline's Alderson.
Chavez fought her way to the front of a pack to seal her bronze medal, beating out Montana Ohmart from Columbus (fourth in 20:47) and a pair of Minneapolis runners: Maddy Krueger (fifth in 20:51) and Alayna Cossaart (sixth in 21:09).