By BRETT MARSHALL
There is a song made famous by the Whispers and Sonny and Cher where part of the lyrics go something like, "And the beat goes on; still moving strong, on and on."
It very well could be the theme song for the cross country program at Greeley County High School.
Saturday, the Jackrabbits boys and girls returned to the title podium with first-place finishes in the Class 1A championship at Wamego Country Club.
For the girls, it marked their fourth state title in the past five years, and for the boys it was their third in the last four seasons. Coach Greg Cook has come up with the right tune for his Jackrabbit runners.
And they certainly like to be "moving strong, on and on."
Senior Troy Wineinger's third-place individual finish paced the Jackrabbit boys to a team total of 34 points, while Pike Valley was 10 points back with 44. Wineinger's time of 17:00.1 put him behind Lucas Koch of Centralia (16:16.0) and Pike Valley's Caden Callaway (16:50.1). Teammate Miguel Trejo also had a top-10 finish, recording a time of 17:48.3 for eighth place.
On the girls side, sophomore Coraima Yanez led the way with a fifth-place effort with a time of 16:34.0 for the 4-kilometer race, while junior Kelli Holthaus was right behind in sixth with a time of 16:35.4.
The Lady Jackrabbits scored 37 points while runner-up Axtell was back with 59 points.
Freshman Kashli Holthaus provided a strong effort that was pivotal for the Lady Jackrabbits as she finished 18th with a time of 17:09.6. Another freshman, Brooke Wineinger (Troy's younger sister), was 37th with a time of 18:09.5.
"Coraima gave us a really good race," Cook said of his top returner from a runner-up team of 2011 that interrupted a three-year domination of the smallest classification of schools. "We got great races from Kelli and Kashli and Brooke, despite some problems (nearly falling at one point) still ran strong for us."
Cook said he had once again brought up the school's tradition of running well at the state meet. He now has 11 state team championships to his credit.
"We wanted to win and we looked at the teams we needed to beat," Cook said. "We just had a great day. We've always been a little leery of the start there. It's such a long uphill climb and sometimes you can get out too fast and not have anything left. I thought the kids did a good job of managing that without killing themselves."
On the boys side, Wineinger had set his sights on an individual as well as team title, but he was unable to get the first. The second goal, though, was just as sweet, said Cook.
"Troy told me all week that if he couldn't get the individual, he wanted to help the team win and we were able to do that," Cook said. "We got great races. Four in the top 22 is really special. Miguel, Sergio, Martin all ran great races today."
Cook was referring to Sergio Trejo, who placed 14th with a time of 18:05.1. Junior Martin Veleta was just out of the medal hunt with a 22nd placing in a time of 18:32.4.
In Class 2A boys, the Stanton County Trojans came up a little short in their chase for a state title as they finished second with 74 points to champion Ellinwood's 56.
Leading the way for the Trojans was Raul Pantoja, who clocked a 17:11.4 and finished seventh. Jacob Cron was the other top-20 finisher for the Trojans, placing 19th in 17:48.5. Fabian Avelar was just out of the medal count with a 21st place finish (17:52.4).
"I felt like we ran well," said Trojan coach Mike Horton. "Our times were good, but it was a quick field. Everybody just ran a solid race."
On the girls side in Class 2A, Wichita County's Paige Wells capped off her stellar prep career with a 10th-place finish with a time of 15:55.2. Jenna Farris of Lincoln won her third straight individual title with a time of 15:31.9. Wells was coming back from surgery in early June to repair both legs for a compartment syndrome condition that had bothered her for much of two years. Stanton County's Jenna Black just missed the medal stand with a 21st place finish (16:31.3).
In Class 4A boys, Hugoton was fourth.
The Eagles ran well, but managed just a fourth-place team finish with 92 points. They tied with DeSoto for third, but DeSoto won the tiebreaker by virtue of a higher sixth-place finish.
Patrick Weaver paced the Eagles effort with a fourth-place finish (16:09.2) while senior teammate Jacob Martin placed 10th in 16:48.4.
"Patrick and Jacob did what I expected them to do, they took care of business," Rodriguez said. "I'm happy with the way we ran. We had many personal bests. We ran better than we did there earlier in the year. It's just one of those things. We knew the team race was up in the air and so many of us close together."
Ulysses junior Chisholm Branscum garnered a top 10 finish by placing sixth with a time of 15:52.6 for the Lady Tigers. She was the lone area runner to crack the top 20. The Lady Tigers placed 10th with 236 points. Ulysses' boys were eighth in the team standings with 196 points.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.