Sophomores Devin Chappel and Jocelyn Sosa led the way for Garden City High School’s cross country teams Saturday during a regional meet at Cessna Activities Center in Wichita.
Chappel won the boys 5K and Sosa claimed second place in the girls race.
Both the Buffalo squads finished in fourth place as teams, with only the top three teams advancing to state. The top 10 individual finishers move on. The boys squad suffered a heartbreaking finish though as a team, finishing one point out of the state qualifying.
"These kids represents our team well today. We are proud of how hard they fought and the PR’s (personal records) they made," GCHS head coach Krista Linenberger said.
In the boys race, Chappel battled Derby’s Austin Hock throughout the race and won at the line with a stretch by roughly .20 of a second. He ran the course in 16:19.70 while the Panther ran it in 16:39.60. Garden City’s Brody Hoff was the only other individual finisher in the top 10, coming in fifth place with a time of 16:55.20.
Other runners for the Buffalo boys squad include: Evan Gurrola, 18th, with a time of 17:35.40; Kenji Craig, 22nd, running the course in 17:42.10; Joel Contreras, 45th, with a 19:06.50; and Hayden Bailey, 47th with a 19:16.70.
Derby won the team event with 67 points. Wichita East took second with 90, Dodge City third with 90, then Garden City in fourth place with 91 points.
"It was a dog fight on the boys side. Our boys team missed qualifying by just one point. It’s heartbreaking, but, to be that close with our circumstances was pure grit by these six guys," Linenberger said. "We were missing our No. 5 runner which really left a hole for them to fill and there was some uncertainty about our No. 6 recovering from an overuse injury. These guys should be proud of their efforts to within one point with the circumstances felt to them."
The girls race was as close at the finish as the boys race as Garden City’s Sosa needed one more step to claim first place. Sosa finished the course in 19:43.10 for second, just behind winner Eva McKinzie of Wichita East at 19:14.00. Sosa is the lone Buffalo to finish in the top 10 individually to advance to state.
Other runners competing for GCHS on the girls race include Andrea Hernandez, 22nd, running the course in 22:07.20; Samantha Orozco, 23rd, right with Hernandez at 22:22.00; and Joscelyn Monarrez-Cruz in 27th at 22:45.60. Selah Hageman finished 29th with a 23:07.80 as well as teammate Abigail Aguilar placed 29th with a 23:07.80; and Lana Rodriguez in 37th with a 23:56.90.
"Our girls efforts were super but felt slightly short with a fourth place team finish." Linenberger said. "Jocelyn Sosa took control early along with the Wichita East girl, and they set the pace early and never looked back. Jocelyn’s second place finish was the best race we’ve seen her run this season."
Dodge City won the girls team competition with 42 points; Derby was second with 43; Wichita East took third with 82; and Garden City finished fourth with 101 points.
The trio of Buffalo runners will be competing at the Class 6A meets on Saturday at Mile Creek Resort in Augusta.