NORTH NEWTON—With Harvey County West Park out of commission because of flooding, the Wheat State League cross country championships were moved to the Bethel College cross country course Thursday, where the Goessel Bluebirds swept the team titles.
The meet also was separated from the Heart of the Plains League, which for logistical reasons, was moved to Pretty Prairie.
The Goessel girls downed Little River 13-27 for the league title. Four other schools lacked the four runners needed to score. The Bluebird boys downed Canton-Galva 15-27. Little River was third at 54.
“It was a tough meet,” Goessel coach Brian Lightner said. “There was a lot of standing water on the course. It was fun for the kids. I’m proud of both the girls and the guys. This is what they’ve been working for. I’m hoping they can continue this next week.”
Goessel freshman Elise Clark won the girls’ race in 21:47.4. Olivia Peters of Elyria Christian was second in 23:01.1 and Kaylie Zimmerman of Little River was third in 23:10.9.
Clark led by about 125 yards after the first mile and doubled the lead after the second, continuing to pull away for the remainder of the race. It was Clark’s first career win.
“I’ve placed,” Clark said. “The highest I got was second at Berean, Harvey County East Lake. I’ve never run (cross country) before this year. I ran track (in middle school) — the mile and two mile. This was my first long distances. It was muddy. I slipped a couple of times.”
Clark said she hopes to qualify for state next week.
Freshman Morgan Becker of Canton-Galva won the boys’ race in 18:02.6, followed by Dawson Duerksen of Goessel in 18:31.3 and Jerah Schmidt of Goessel in third in 18:35.6.
“It’s got to be pretty close to my PR,” Becker said. “I was hoping for a school record. I want to break 18 this season. It was pretty wet. My shoes were starting to get heavy out there. If conditions were better, I would have got it.”
Becker had a slight lead early in the race that he was able to stretch to about 20 yards at the two-mile mark and he finished about 27.7 seconds ahead of the pack at the finish.
“I haven’t won any (races) this season, but I placed in all of them,” Becker said. “I’d like to get to state and get 17 there.”
Duerksen was pushed by teammates for most of his race.
“It went pretty good,” Duerksen said. “I wasn’t feeling very well before the race, but just before the start, the adrenaline kicked in. This is my highest finish this year. I want to get below 18 (at regionals).”
Goessel competes Oct. 20 at the Class 2A regional at the Belleville Country Club. The top three teams and top 10 runners not on the top three teams advance to state Oct. 27 at the Wamego Country Club.
“(Belleville) is actually pretty close to where we’ve gone in the past,” Lightner said. “It will be tough competition team-wise for our guys. There are about four or five teams that could come out of there. It will be pretty solid for the girls as well. We’ll be ready and do the best we can.”
Team scores — Goessel 13, Little River 27. Elyria Christian, Canton-Galva, Solomon, Herington no team score.
Individuals — 1. Clark, Elsie Goe. 21:47.4; 2. Peters, Olivia EC 23:05.1; 3. Zimmerman, Kaylie LR 23:10.9; 4. Boden, Elyse Goe. 24:09.9; 5. Rust, Cassandra Goe. 24:30.6; 6. Silsby, Leah CG 25:05.8; 7. Unruh, Porclein Goe. 25:16.4; 8. Smith, Aaliyah Sol. 25:55.0; 9. Miller, Edel Goe. 26:38.5; 10. Nightingale, Whitney CG 26:41.9; 11. McBride, Emma LR 26:54.9; 12. Davis, Makenna Her. 27:01.3; 13. Brillhart, Roylin LR 27:32.8; 14. Olsen, Katelyn Goe. 27:38.9; 15. Loder, Michelle LR 29:33.6; 16. Boden, Alyssa Goe. 31:07.9; 17. Loder, Madison LR 31:34.4; 18. Kendall, Sarah CG 33:50.1.
Team scores — Goessel 15, Canton-Galva 27, Little River 54. Elyria Christian, Herington, Solomon no team score.
Individuals — 1. Becker, Morgan CG 18:02.6; 2. Duerksen, Dawson Goe. 18:31.3; 3. Schmidt, Jerah Goe. 18:35.6; 4. Kastner, Adrian Goe. 18:35.8; 5. Darrah, Christian CG 18:48.8; 6. Beck, Josh EC 19:31.2; 7. Hicks, Brendon Goe. 19:32.4; 8. Schrag, Jacob Goe. 19:33.2; 9. Hare, Zach Sol. 19:54.6; 10. Schrag, Timothy Goe. 19:56.1; 11. Bertozzi, Chicco Goe. 20:13.9; 12. Impson, Nate Goe. 20:33.9; 13. Olson, Ben Goe. 20:42.3; 14. Miller, Logan CG 20:58.9; 15. Schroeder, Brody Goe. 21:11.1; 16. Sawyer, David Goe. 21:15.5; 17. Bradbury, Jerry CG 21:57.7; 18. Garrison, Jayden LR 22:02.8; 19. Guerrero, Zackary Goe. 22:35.9; 20. Zeller, Zeke LR 22:39.2; 21. Loder, Jake LR 23:15.6; 22. Friesen, Brandon LR 23:27.5; 23. Rutschman, Craig Her. 23:44.9; 24. Wolters, Jan Goe. 24:53.8; 25. Ford, Matthew Sol. 26:24.8; 26. Lovett, Josh Her. 26:39.4; 27. McLaughlin, Tyler Sol. 27:30.3; 28. Maqueda-Oliveras, Joan Goe. 30:49.0.