EL DORADO — The Winfield High School boys and girls cross country teams gave the Buhler Crusaders a run for their money, but the Vikings came up just short Thursday at the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division III & IV Championships at Wartick Farm.
The WHS boys needed just five points to pull even with the defending Class 4A State champion Crusaders for the team title.
“I was very proud of their efforts and how far they have progressed throughout the season,” WHS coach Torey Keller said. “Earlier in the season, Buhler had beaten us by over 40 points at their invitational.”
The Lady Vikings were runner-up to the reigning 4A State champion Lady Crusaders by 22 points.
“I felt our girls got out really well early in the race and wanted to take control. As a team, we struggled over the last half of the race, but I’m not sure I would have wanted to change too much,” Keller said. “We could have gotten out a little easier, but I felt we needed to put ourselves in contention to win, and then see how things would play out. Nevertheless, it was by far our best showing of the season. Like the boys, Buhler girls had beaten us pretty badly in early September. We have closed that gap and I believe we are now one of the top 5 teams in Class 4A.”
The Crusaders swept the individual titles, too.
Tanner Lindahl completed the boys 5K course in 15 minutes, 44.85 seconds. Leah Bentley won the girls title in 19:24.48.
Winfield sophomore Kayli Myers broke her own school record in the girls 5K race, finishing in second place in 19:43.2. She set the school mark earlier this season and earned all-league first-team status with her runner-up finish.
Winfield’s talented trio of senior Craig LaBrue, junior Corban Priest and senior Camilo Tarin took the Nos. 4-5-6 spots in the boys race. LaBrue finished in 16:24, less than six seconds from third place. Priest ran a 16:25.15 to edge Tarin (16:28.25) by three seconds. All three earned all-league first-team nods.
WHS freshman Skylar Flower was a solid eighth in 21:01.33. Senior Elly Bertholf was one spot behind (21:19.69), and sophomore Gracelynn Benavides placed 11th (21:26.52), earning all-league second-team status for their efforts.
WHS sophomore Mark Thompson also earned a second-team nod after placing 14th (17:29.53). Freshman Jaden Brown (18:58.23) was 25th.
“We continue to have great leadership from two of our seniors, Craig LaBrue and Camilo Tarin. They have shown the others what hard work and dedication can do for themselves and team aspirations,” Keller said. “We have three sophomores that have really made a difference on our team strength. Corban Priest would lead that group, as he ran No. 2 for us yesterday. He has gone from an upper 17 minute runner from last year to a lower 16 minute runner this year, and more importantly, has moved from a mid pack runner to a top 10 runner.”
Senior Sophia Sisk finished 16th for the Lady Vikings (22:06.35). Freshman Brooke Brogan was 25th (23:03.24) one spot ahead of freshman Lauryn Turner (23:07.29).
The Vikings are set to compete Oct. 24 in the Class 4A Regionals at the Lakeview Recreation Area in Chanute. The girls run at 10 a.m., and the boys at 10:35 a.m. Chanute, Coffeyville, Fort Scott, Independence, Iola, Labette County, Parsons and Wellington are expected to join Winfield.
“I feel that both squads have the chance to win the meet and qualify for the state championships,” Keller said. “But as always, we as a team must compete and do our job to reach our team goals.”
AV-CTL D-III & IV Championships
Thursday at Wartick Farm, El Dorado
Division III Varsity Boys (5K)
Team Scores — 1. Buhler 40; 2. Winfield 45; 3. Augusta 79; 4. Towanda-Circle 98; 5. McPherson 104; El Dorado incomplete.
Individual Medalist (37) — Tanner Lindahl (Buh), 15:44.85.
Winfield — 4. Craig LaBrue 16:24.0; 5. Corban Priest 16:25.15; 6. Camilo Tarin 16:28.25; 14. Andru Owens 17:29.53; 16. Mark Thompson 17:51.27; 25. Jaden Brown 18:58.23.
Varsity Girls (5K)
Team Scores — 1. Buhler 41; 2. Winfield 63; 3. Towanda-Circle 115; 4. Andale 119; 5. Rose Hill 132; 6. Augusta 137; 7. Clearwater 156; 8. McPherson 179; 9. Mulvane 196.
Individual Medalist (32) — Leah Bentley (Buh), 19:24.48.
Winfield — 2. Kayli Myers 19:43.2; 8. Skylar Flower 21:01.33; 9. Elly Bertholf 21:19.69; 11. Gracelynn Benavides 21:26.52; 16. Sophia Sisk 22:06.35; 25. Brooke Brogan 23:03.24; 26. Lauryn Turner 23:07.29.
Junior Varsity Boys (5K)
Team Scores — 1. Buhler 18; 2. Clearwater 51; 3. Augusta 65; Andale, El Dorado, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Wellington, Winfield incomplete.
Individual Medalist (20) — Cameron Yutzy (Buh), 18:02.13.
Winfield — 17. Jack Speer 21:33.44.
Junior Varsity Girls (5K)
Team Scores — 1. Buhler 15; 2. Towanda-Circle 56; 3. Clearwater 72; Andale, Augusta, El Dorado, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Wellington, Winfield incomplete.
Individual Medalist (18) — Aidyn White (Buh), 22:23.79.
Winfield — 4. Jessie Toon 23:02.33; 14. Gracie Goyer 26:03.01.