Osborne's boys make last-minute preparations before their race.
(Photo: Osborne Cross Country)
Chaos. That's what 1A XC is in right now. Everything we thought we knew was wrong. We had upsets in every regional. No team is safe.
The team rankings have been somewhat fluid this year, with teams jockeying for position all season long, but one team has been steady: Doniphan West's girls. That is, until last Saturday. In a stunning 35-37 upset, Osborne was crowned regional champions. Doniphan West returned all 7 runners from back-to-back state championships but was without their senior leader Elle Williams this past weekend. Her status is unclear, but should she be unable to run again next week, that puts the Mustang's title hopes in question.
Osborne is obviously in contention now, but the other regional champions, Quinter and Macksville, should also like their chances. Macksville's 31-58 pounding of highly-regarded Pretty Prairie certainly caught my attention, while Quinter's team average of 22:54 was the best of any team last week. Even without Williams, though, don't expect Doniphan West to go down easily.
COVERAGE: KSHSAA 1A/2A XC State Meet
The individual race was slated to be a 1-on-1 battle between
Elle Williams and Golden Plains sophomore Emma Weiner. Weiner has the better times
this season, particularly after her 19:48 at Ness City for Regionals. Williams
was the better runner at state last year, placing 2nd to Weiner's 3rd.
Other outside contenders could be Beloit-St John's Jane Letourneau and Pretty Prairie's Abigail White. Both were individual champions at regionals. You'll also see Doniphan West junior Claire Cole near the front, along with Macksville's Madison Butler.
For fans of 1A, the story of the top team losing their top runner is eerily familiar. That was the case for Meade in August when they lost Trent Roberts for the season. Hopefully, his injury recovery is going well and we'll see him running in the future. His teammates have carried the banner well in his absence. The defending champs have battled Quinter for the #1 spot all season. Quinter was the winner last Saturday, but the 3-point margin of victory shows that these two are fairly even. Wetmore and the Classical School of Wichita were the other regional champion teams, but Western Kansas rules 1A boys right now, and it'll take some effort to take down any of the 4 qualifiers from the Ness City regional.
Individually, it's going to be exciting. Nine of the top-12
from last year's state meet are gone, including the top-6. Logan's Sam
Pinkerton, Fowler's Elijah Zortman, and Canton-Galva's Morgan Becker were 7th,
8th, and 9th last year. Becker appeared to be the early
favorite but appears to be coming off a mid-season injury. His teammate,
Christian Darrah, has since taken his place as a serious contender, winning regionals
at Wichita in 17:13. Standing in everyone's way, though, is Spearville's Corbin
Ricke. The senior sensation used his stellar track season as a springboard into
the fall, and has rattled off 5 wins in a row, with a state-leading 17:05 at
the Ness City regional. Other contenders to watch are Jonathan Hamel from
Stockton, the regional champ at Centralia, and Wetmore's Colby Hanzlicek.
Things are looking really close on both sides for 1A XC, so if you're looking for excitement, Sand Plum Trail in Victoria is the place to be on Saturday morning!
KS Milesplit Predictions - Matt Goeckel
Boys Team: Quinter
Girls Team: Doniphan West