The St. John boys cross country team captured the 2A state title at Wamego on Oct. 29, the fourth state win for the Tigers and the first since 1975.
The races were held at the Wamego Country Club. The course has almost no flat running and runners are either climbing or descending hills the whole race. Several tight turns and crowds of people pressing in along the sides of the path also make this a challenging course. Wind was at about 14 mph and the temperatures were warm for a state meet ranging from 75-85 during the races. A large contingent from St. John was there to support the Tiger runners.
Last weekend at the Meade Regional, the boys’ team finished as a runner up to number one ranked Stanton County by eight points. The boys were determined to redeem themselves at the state meet and scored a one-point win over Stanton County to claim the 2A State Title 73 to 74.
“In the weeks leading up to state, Coach Smith and I talked to our team about how close the team standings would be. We told the kids that the result might be decided by one point or might even go down to a tie breaker with our sixth or seventh runner. We talked about how every place was going to matter and that is exactly how it turned out” said Coach Delp.
Like they have done throughout the year, the Tigers used a pack mentality to outscore their opponent. Freshman A.J. Miller and senior Triston Long were the top finishers for the Tigers, both securing top 20 medals. A.J. finished in 17th place with a time of 18:29.02 and Triston placed 19th with a time of 18:36.14.
Sophomore Wrangler Walker finished in 21st with a time of 18:38.22 and his brother, senior Remington Walker finished in 25th with a time of 18:42.01. Junior Quincy Smith rounded out the top 5 runners in 31st place with a time of 19:03.96. Sophomore Mason Osborne finished in 58th place with a time of 20:01.13 and freshman Trey Fisher placed 63rd with a time of 20:14.74.
“It seemed like each of our runners had to win an individual battle during the race and that ultimately proved to be the difference. We were able to place A.J., Triston, Wrangler and Remington in front of Stanton County’s third runner and Quincy placed in front of their fourth place runner. If it would have come down to a tie, Mason had their sixth runner beat and Trey had their seventh runner beat, so everyone did their job in securing the team victory” said Coach Delp.
“I am so proud of the way our boys ran. Wamego is a tough course especially on a warm day like today. Each year we have seen teams come in with fast times but they aren’t up for the physical and mental demands of this race. Our boys ran a smart race and they were prepared. They spend time running during the summer. They run tough workouts on an extremely challenging practice course in all weather conditions and they get themselves in the right mental frame of mind each time they race. We didn’t need an all-star runner to win. We just needed a group of guys willing to work hard and do their part to get it done” said Coach Delp.
On the girls’ side, Shayla Garcia returned to the state meet for the second year in a row. Shayla ran in the last race of the day when temperatures were 85 degrees and windy. Although the conditions slowed down overall times, it didn’t stop Shayla from running an outstanding race and improving her placing from last year. Shayla placed 41st with a time of 24:09.30 improving on a 57th place finish last year. “
I am proud of Shayla. She ran a great race despite conditions that made it tough. Shayla runs on hard work and determination. She had to work through an injury this year and didn’t get as many miles in as she wanted to, but she continued to stay after it and ran some great races at the end of the season. Shayla continues to improve, and with a great off season I know she will be right in the thick of it again next season” said Coach Delp.
“Our cross country team is so thankful for our parents, community and school. We have had outstanding support for our team throughout the year, and we saw that again for the State meet” said Coach Delp.
1 St. John 73 11-12-13-16-21 (43) (48)
2 Stanton County 74 3-6-17-22-26 (46) (56)
3 Yates Center 82 1-2-4-31-44 (57) (62)
4 KC Christian 112 7-8-9-29-59 (61)
5 Bennington 131 10-20-27-36-38 (42) (53)
6 Salina Sacred Heart 145 18-25-28-34-40 (49) (76)
7 Holton-Jackson Heights 159 14-32-33-39-41 (47) (54)
8 Wichita County 194 19-30-35-50-60 (70) (75)
9 Pratt-Skyline 208 5-24-55-58-66 (73) (77)
10 Ellinwood 240 15-37-52-67-69
11 Burden-Central 272 23-45-65-68-71 (78) (79)
12 Pittsburg Colgan 324 51-63-64-72-74