Heading to state.
That’s the goal of every high school sports team.
Garden City High School’s cross country teams traveled to Wichita’s Cessna Activities Center Saturday to compete in a Class 6A regional meet to try and complete that task.
The top 10 runners and top three teams advance to state from each regional.
“It was a beautiful day at regional cross country in Wichita,” GCHS Head Coach Krista Linenberger said. “The wind was virtually non-existent, with temperatures in the mid-40s. It was a perfect day to run fast, and that’s what our kids did.”
In the boys’ division, Garden City finished in second place with 68 points, 12 points ahead of third place finisher, Dodge City. Wichita East won the event with 35 points.
The Buffaloes’ Ethan Fisher and Santiago Nunez-Gonzalez both finished in the top 10 individually.
Fisher ran the course in 16:29.18 for a third place finish. Nunez-Gonzalez wasn’t too far behind Fisher, at 16:58.17, to finish the race in eighth place.
Dodge City’s Giovanni Valverde finished in fourth place at 16:35.34 while Red Demon Angel Landeros took the 10th spot at 17:03.82.
Other runners competing for the Buffaloes and advancing to state as a team, their placings and times are:
Brody Hoff, 13th, 17:11.50; Devin Chappel, 20th, 17:35.31; Austin Hess, 24th, 17:47.86; Evan Gurrola, 25th, 17:47.93; and Kenji Craig, 47th, 18:39.36.
“Wichita East boys ran crazy great, posting a team score of 35, that’s a pretty tough score to beat,” Linenberger said. “Our boys keep each other close, and fed off of Ethan’s strong start then just pushed through to come out ahead of Dodge City by 12 points.”
In the girls’ division, Garden City finished in fifth place as a team with 116 points. Derby won the team title with 53 points, while Dodge City finished in third with 59.
Buffalo freshman running sensation Jocelyn Sosa continued her winning ways, claiming the individual title by over 16 seconds faster than the second place runner. Sosa ran the 5K course in 19:31.95. She will be Garden City’s lone entry in the 6A state girls’ race on Saturday.
Linenberger said that Sosa said she felt that it was her day and felt good about taking off early.
Dodge City’s Serenity Larson was the only other southwest Kansas runner to crack the top 10, finishing in fifth place with a time of 20:02.03.
“Jocelyn had a couple of girls go with her early on, but by the half way point, she had pulled far enough ahead that she just had to stay strong and finish,” Linenberger said.
Other runners for Garden City, their placings and times, in the girls division are:
Kaetlin Kohlhorst, 23rd, 21:30.14; Andrea Hernandez, 31st, 22:25.32; Destiny Avila, 32nd, 22:27.03; Anna Lobmeyer, 33rd, 22:28.68; Leslie Jimenez, 35th, 22:36.73; and Ana Casasdos, 43rd, 24:13.93.
“We couldn’t have ask much more from all of them, boys and girls. So many of them ran their best times of the season, and several ran the best times of their careers,” Linenberger said. “We are so proud of each one of them for their efforts, especially our seniors on both sides, for setting the tone of race day and keeping the group focused on the goals of the team set.”
“I can’t say enough about this group and the team chemistry they possess,” Linenberger said. “When you love your teammates it sure makes suffering for them on race day a whole lot easier to do.”
Garden City will travel to Lawrence on Saturday to compete in the Class 6A state cross country meet at Rim Rock Farms. The Buffaloes are familiar with Rim Rock, having competed in a meet there earlier in the season.The boys’ race will begin at 10:35 a.m. and the girls’ race will begin at 12:20 p.m.