For Devin Chappel, a 10-day layoff since the last cross country meet might have proved to be beneficial. The Garden City High School sophomore set the pace and won the boys’ individual championship Saturday at the Newton High School invitational.
The Buffaloes as a team, however, finished in fifth place in their division. The GCHS girls cross country team finished in fourth in their division, losing a tiebreaker with Wamego for third place.
Chappel ran the course in 16:52.16 for the win, finishing ahead of second place’s Cody Achilles of McPherson, who ran the race in 17:04.62.
Garden City’s Brode Hoff clocked a 17:14.31 for fifth place. Kenji Craig finished in 25th with an 18:23.11; Evan Gurrola ran the course in 18:40.83 for 32nd; Isaiah Casedos finished 38th with a 19:21.85; and Hayden Bailey had a 20:01.55 for 45th place.
"I wouldn’t call it a great race all the way around, but it was a good race for us," GCHS head coach Krista Linenberger said. "We had a few kids run really well and then a lot ran consistent mile averages, comping with the last two meets. We had hoped they might feel a little fresher today, but our results didn’t depict that as much as we would have liked."
On the girls’ side, Jocelyn Sosa was the top finisher for the Buffaloes, placing fifth. Sosa ran the course in 20:48.81.
Garden City’s Andrea Hernandez had a 22:36.65 for 15th place, and Selah Hageman finished 21st with a 23:27.82. Lana Rodrigues placed 31st with a 24:16.73 and Abigail Aguilar ran a 24:52.52 for 38th place.
"So many things play into how kids race week to week," Linenberger said. "Not just on the kids side, but the coaches side as well, and the things that are beyond anyone’s control."
Linenberger said that how the team handles those things, and actually realizing that they have to manage them, will be a key in the coming weeks with the Western Athletic Conference meet and regionals approaching.
"We were missing a key runner on both sides, boys and girls, for this meet and hope to have them both back later this week," Linenberger said. "I actually think this race will help our kids re-shape how they approach the next few weeks. I think in the end, we’ll grow stronger from a day like today. I’m not disappointed, but excited to see where they take it from here."
Garden City’s next meet will be at El Dorado on Saturday.