By CONOR NICHOLL
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — Greeley County head track coach Greg Cook has coached the Jackrabbits' track and field team for 28 years and the cross country program for 15. He has built one of Kansas' strongest small school distance powerhouses, and continued that strength at Friday's Class 1A track and field regional at Fort Hays State University.
The girls finished fifth with 33 points. Hoxie won with 75 points. On the boys' side, the Jackrabbits collected 22 points. La Crosse, the defending Class 1A champion, rolled with 136 points, more than twice as many as any other team.
"Pretty pleased with how everything went," he said. "We had some kids really step up and compete well. I have been fortunate to have a lot of good kids that like to run and, so we put them out there in the distance races and they seem to mature and run well. I still credit the kids a lot for what they do. Things went really well."
Junior Kelli Holthaus collected a championship in the 1,600-meter run when she ran 5 minutes, 43.57 seconds to beat Wheatland-Grinnell sophomore Taylor Tustin, the state runner-up in cross country, by just more than three seconds.
Holthaus and Reding also helped the 3,200-meter relay take second in 10:35.89. On the boys' side, senior Troy Wineinger won the 1,600 (4:40.71) and 3,200 (10:17.79). Freshman Sergio Trejo took fifth in the 800, but his time of 2:05.23 was his fastest of the year by almost 10 seconds.
In the 3,200, Victoria senior Jublain Wohler set the early pace, but eventually finished fifth. Cook said having the Wohler to chase "really helped Wineinger. In the 1,600, Wineinger had strong competition from Wheatland-Grinnell junior Tuker Gillespie.
"Troy has done a good job of maintaining and really focusing on his race," Cook said. "Him and I have worked for a couple of years on the third quarter of his race whether it's the third 400 of the 1,600, or the third 800 of the 3,200. ... He is a smart kid and he runs smart, and he runs within himself. He really puts a lot of work into it, and he deserves everything he has been getting with it."
Dighton finished fourth in the girls with 50 points and 11th on the boys' side with 14 points. Hornet junior Diamond Brown took fourth in the 200 (28.31). Junior Leslie Speer was second in the 100 hurdles (17.48) and triple jump (34-6). Brown and Speer helped the 400 relay also take second (51.96). Freshman Payden Shapland was second in the 3,200 in 13:03.52.