The Scott City girls claimed top bragging rights for western Kansas at Saturday’s state cross country championships.
The Beavers were the only Telegram-area team to take gold, winning the Class 3A meet at Lawrence's Rim Rock Farm.
The only time the Scott City girls had encountered the Rim Rock course was early this season. They knew that a look at the state site and a trial run would come in handy if they were to contend for a state title.
That proved to be good planning on the scheduler’s part, and prescient on coach Kevin Reese’s side.
Last season, the team was runner-up in Class 4A, but that was at the Wamego course, where they finished just nine points away from Hiawatha, with Makaela Stevens ending her career with a fifth place to lead the Beavers.
This year, with two top-10 individuals, the Scott City squad realized the ultimate goal, posting 59 points to finish ahead of Hays-TMP, runners-up with 89.
Clare Hawkins paced the Beavers with a time of 20:32.2 to finish sixth.
Senior Dulce Ayala, who finished 18th here a year ago, clocked a 20:40.9, or 19 seconds better than a year ago, to finish eighth.
Megan Vance finished 18th (21.00.7), Piper Wasinger was 22nd (21:05.0) and Kirae Berry 59th (22:45.5).
Reese said his girls ran Saturday with the “business as usual” attitude.
“That’s what we’ve always preached, especially at state,” he said. “There’s always going to be those kids who think they have to do something extra special and probably go out too fast and don’t end up so well.”
Not this group.
“We talk about going out strong and steady, under control,” he said. “Obviously you’ve got to get out to the front of the pack, and that last mile or mile and a half, it’s just hanging on, grits and guts.”
Reese said he had an idea as the girls were finishing that they were in the hunt for a title, but “I knew it was going to be close,” he said. “When you look at the results, it doesn’t really look that close. I thought it would be between us and Hiawatha and Rock Creek going in, but it was TMP that showed up and ran pretty well. That just shows that there’s a lot of girls teams with a lot of quality.”
After Scott City won its regional last week, Reese said he knew his team was in the mix for the team title, but it was always going to come down to who had the better day.
This day it was his team.
“A lot of that has to do with strong leadership at the top,” he said. “They just decided this year this was something they wanted to get done, especially after losing three quality seniors last year. That’s a testament to their hard work and their dedication.”
Course knowledge from the earlier meet in Lawrence also helped, Reese said.
“Looking back on that, they ran really well at that meet. Just having that experience made a lot of difference,” he said. “That gave us some confidence coming in.”
Scott City boys
Scott City’s Eric Frances, a junior, finished 15th in 17:16.7, with teammate Jaxson Kough, a freshman, finishing 29th(17:54.5).