Peterson Leads Stanton County to 2A Girls Title

Stanton County's Chesney Peterson burst out to a big lead again at the class 2A state championships. This year, she held on to win her first-ever individual state title. (Kansas MileSplit photo by Alexander Walters)

Just a little under one year after fading badly in the latter stages of a race she seemingly had won, Stanton County's Chesney Peterson has her redemption.

The sophomore took charge of the class 2A girls state cross country championship on Saturday and held off a gutsy performance from Kansas City Christian senior Alysia Wagner. Peterson won in 18:17.1 - the fastest time by any Kansas girl on state championship weekend - while Wagner clocked 18:31.7 (the third best time among Kansas girls Saturday).

Ellinwood senior Erin Hammeke, the defending state champion in class 2A, was on her game again, finishing third in 18:58.4 - the second-fastest time she's run in her high school career.

Peterson bolted to a big lead last year in the state championship race, but suffered health issues during the race and ended up in 41st place. She returned with fire in her eyes this season, racking up her ninth victory in nine races.

Spotted a big lead again this year, Peterson never let up, hammering away at the Sand Plum Nature Trail course, located near Victoria.

It was part of a banner day for Stanton County, as the squad successfully defended the class 2A girls team title. Stanton County scored 48, while upstart Remington scored 83 for second. Oakley was third at 108.

Also for Stanton County, sophomore Suzanne Farnham placed seventh (20:02.6), senior Peyton Peterson was 12th (20:35.7), freshman Madison Seyb was 24th (21:21.2) and senior Jania Don Juan placed 31st (21:48.3).

Remington's Lucy Brown, a junior, was her team's only state medalist, placing 11th in 20:35.4. But the squad put its 2-5 runners within a minute of each other to key its run to second place.

Medalists Jaelle Johnson (13th, 20:39.4) and Citori Bosserman (19th, 21:04.4) - both sophomores - were key to Oakley's third place finish.

Emily Diercks of Hoxie (19:33.8) and Josie Ware of West Elk (19:38.6) rounded out the girls top five finishers.

Stanton County's boys couldn't quite repeat as state champs, but they came pretty close. Newcomer Berean Academy - last year's state champion in class 1A - moved up a division and snagged the top spot from Stanton County.

Berean Academy scored 54 points, while Stanton County had 62 and McLouth placed third with 84.

The state title was essentially decided by each squad's top three runners. Through three finishers, Berean had scored 14 compared to 20 for Stanton County and 36 for McLouth. Those differences didn't change much for the fourth and fifth runners.

Berean Academy had three medalists in sophomore Andrew Harder (fifth, 16:47.5), senior Gavin Tucker (tenth, 17:04.0) and junior Eli Nord (13th, 17:06.4). Stanton County was led by sophomore Kamryn Golub (third, 16:24.6) and junior Spencer Schmidt (12th, 17:04.9).

The individual title went to Trego Community senior Wyndom Giefer, who clocked 16:09.2 for his first-ever state title. He fought off a gallant run by Hoxie senior Gabriel Friess, who finished in 16:17.3.

Trevor Pentlin, a senior from Jefferson County North and the state runner-up a year ago, placed fourth on Saturday in 16:42.8. It's the best time of his high school career, and more than two minutes faster than he ran to win last week's regional meet at Turner.