-Pat Melgares, August 2021
He was right, you know. 3A cross country is simple: Everyone runs around for a while and Southeast of Saline wins. They're like Thanos. Purple, inevitable, and here to dust you. Jentrie Alderson and the girls have been wire-to-wire #1 in their campaign for a third straight title. Dylan Sprecker and the boys had a bump in the road halfway through the season against Wichita Trinity but righted that with a 1-point win over them at regionals. Coach Casselman has a machine running, and it'll take something special to even slow it down.
It just so happens, though, that Wichita Trinity has
something special. Their boys have already beat the Trojans once this season and their second meeting was just a 1-point defeat. Trinity's 1-5 pack time is a
stellar 34 seconds. The scariest part: They have no seniors and one junior. But
that's a story for next year. This year, they'll need their best day to stop
Behind those two in the podium hunt is Smoky Valley, who had to fend off a slew of ranked teams (Collegiate, Hesston, & Council Grove) just to qualify out of the most ridiculous regional KSHSAA has ever drawn up. With those three out of the way, it opens the door for the other regional champions, West Franklin, Hoisington, and Girard, to move up a few places. West Franklin has the best chance of knocking off Smoky Valley for the 3rd place spot. The Falcons have put together a really solid team this year.
COVERAGE: KSHSAA 3A/4A XC State Meet
Individually, it's more purple. Dylan Sprecker leads the way for Southeast of Saline. He is 2-0 against Council Grove's Kodi Downes this season, who has been a clear-cut #2. They both have broken 16:00 this year, with Sprecker dipping clear into the 15:30s. Other possible challengers include Collegiate's CJ Meyer and Wichita Trinity's Clay Shively. They went 1-2-3-4 at the Southeast of Saline regional, and that very well could be the order they place at state. Look for Marysville's Silas Miller to break that up, though. Miller has had a breakout season, winning his last four races and leading an upstart Bulldog team to state as a sophomore. One other athlete to watch for is Lawson Beymer. The Lakin product defeated Meyer at Rim Rock, and has the potential to make some noise at Wamego this weekend.
Regionals at Southeast of Saline contained many of the best teams and individuals in 3A, led by Dylan Sprecker (front, in purple), Kodi Downes (left, in navy), and CJ Meyer (behind Downes, in white)(Photo by Jessica Sprecker)
On the girls side, it's Jentrie Alderson. And it's not even close. The Southeast of Saline Senior hasn't lost a race since May 1st. The odds of her faltering here and now are slim to none. Clocking 18:20 this past weekend, she has nearly a minute on Prairie View's Bree Allen, the #2 runner in 3A this year. At 19:15, Allen leads quite a chase pack. Fellow regional champs Hannah Thong of Olathe-Heritage and Ozia Trujillo of Southwestern Hts (2nd last year) are in the fray, along with Minneapolis' Alayna Cossaart (6th last year), Council Grove's Jordyn Picolet (8th last year), Smoky Valley's Gracie Lambert (800m state champ), Fredonia's Campbell O'Dell, and West Franklin's Emma Bailey. Southeast of Saline's Abby Commerford and Ashley Prochazka could be in there as well.
Whew! Like I said, that'll be quite a pack.
Team-wise, you'll notice Southeast of Saline already has
three near the front, so they're a force to be reckoned with. Even their six and seven runners are under 21:20, so if someone has an off day, it's next man up. Stepping
up to challenge them will be the other 3 regional champions, West Franklin,
Prairie View, and Southwestern Heights. All three handled their respective
regionals well. Southwestern Heights was 3rd in 2019 and has a
solid front runner. Prairie View doesn't put down the times that everyone else
does, but they pushed 4A #3 Louisburg to the wire, and that is the only team
they've lost to this year. West Franklin's girls pack pretty well, which seems
to find success at state. Lastly, Cheney has been on the upswing lately. They were knocked down a peg by Southeast of Saline at regionals, but still have reasonable hopes of bringing home a trophy.
3A Again returns to the Wamego Country Club for state this year. The hills and switchbacks are sure to play a factor in each race. Who will rise to the occasion? Find out Saturday starting at 10AM!
KS Milesplit Predictions - Matt Goeckel
Boys Team: Southeast of Saline
Individual: Dylan Sprecker, Southeast of Saline
Girls Team: Southeast of Saline
Individual: Jentrie Alderson, Southeast of Saline