Gurrola, Sosa lead GCHS harriers at Great Bend

GCHS Athletics

Boys second, girls fifth to start ’21 campaign

Three Garden City High School boys placed among the top 10 runners on Thursday at Lake Barton to help propel the Buffs to a second-place finish behind Buhler in the opening meet of the fall season at the Great Bend Invitational.

Juniors Evan Gurrola and Devin Chappel ran fifth and sixth, respectively, with times of 18:06.6 and 18:12.5 while senior teammate Kenji Craig was close behind in seventh place with a time of 18:13.9 over the 5-kilometer layout.

That helped the Buffs finish with 46 points while Buhler garnered the top spot with 25 points, with three of its runners claiming the second, third and fourth spots. Great Bend’s Kaiden Esfeld, the reigning WAC cross country champion, won the meet with a time of 16:31.3.

Three other runners competed for the boys with sophomore Kailyn Munoz placing 17th (19:00.3) and senior Isaiah Casados finishing 19th in 19:07.8. Sophomore Ivan Rivas was 38th in 21:32.8.

Dodge City’s boys took third with 75 points, followed by Salina South (124), McPherson (127) and Hays High (132).

On the girls’ side, junior Jocelyn Sosa was the top finisher, taking 14th in a field of 47 runners with a time of 22:23.9. The Buffaloes finished with 116 points.

With a relatively young team, head coach Krista Linenberger saw juniors Samantha Orozco (23:15.2) and Kiera Hageman (24:01.5) finish 19th and 26th. Two more juniors rounded out the placings as Joscelyn Monarrez was 39th (25:29.6) and Lana Rodriguez 43rd (27:07.0).

Host Great Bend’s girls captured the team title with 20 points and Dodge City was second with 46. Hays and Buhler took third and fourth with 96 and 115 points. Dodge City’s defending WAC champion, Serenity Larson, won by 10 seconds over Great Bend’s Emilia Diaz with a time of 20:27.3.

“It really was a great day for our runners,” Linenberger said. “The team placings and points were due to me choosing not to run a full varsity team. They don’t reflect where we truly are as a varsity team right now and are irrelevant to what our goal was for today’s meet.”

Linenberger said the team had put in a lot of hard work through the summer and in the early fall preseason workouts to prepare for the opening race.

“We have a long road yet and lots to do, but we are headed for success,” Linenberger said.

The Buffalo teams will compete at the Hesston Swather Invitational on Thursday.