The Wamego Red Raiders ran off with the team awards but Taylor Briggs of Chapman and Clay Center’s Jaret Pfizenmaier won gold in the high school divisions of the 2019 NCKL Cross Country meet Thursday in Abilene.
Running for the second time this season at Great Life Golf Course, Briggs finished an amazing two minutes ahead of her closest competition. The junior from Chapman earned NCKL gold for the third time in a row and sets herself up as the runner to beat in next weeks Class 4A regional meet at Prairie Ridge Cross Country Park hosted by Buhler High School.
Briggs ran 19:25.6 Thursday as she finished ahead of two Wamego runners, Adaline Fulmer and Hailey Butler. Fulmer’s second place time was 21:33.5 while Butler crossed at 22:44.6.
“I don’t think I did as good as I would have liked,” Briggs said. “But, I mean you are going to have those meets. I just got to keep pushing and working hard. I really want to get under 18:50 and PR for this year. I need to just work my hardest and make it to state.”
The top 15 runners earned All-League recognition and medals at the awards ceremony following the event.
Abilene junior Bailey Rock finished 13th with a time of 24:45.9. Senior Annie Bathurst gutted out her injury-plagued season with a time of 26:08.7 for 18th place. Alice Bathurst ran 19th at 26:24.4 and Allison Liby crossed 20th at 26:34.4. Rounding out the Cowgirl runners was Skyleigh Pflaster who finished 26th with a time of 28:19.1 in her first 5K run of the season.
“We’ve had some bum luck this year with injuries hitting our girls team,” Abilene head coach Andy Cook said. “We had a full team today, but we probably won’t have a full team at regionals next week. They ran on heart today. We have a couple with lingering ankle injuries so we’ll shut them down because they are in so much pain. They ran for each other today and I am proud of them for that and we are going to get a medal out of it with Bailey.”
Wamego took the girls competition with 26 points followed by Marysville at 48, Clay Center 62 and Abilene 84.
In the varsity boys competition, Clay Center teammates finished one, two as Pfizenmaier ran his gold medal time of 17:00.9 followed by Dalton Murray at 17:34.2. Wamego’s Jacob White crossed in third place at 17:42.8.
Abilene freshman Grant Waite was the first Cowboy to finish as he ran eighth at 18:15.4. Senior Aaron Geissinger crossed at 18:31.8 for 11th while his brother Thurman Geissinger also made All-League with a 15th place finish at 18:51.4.
Others finishing for the fourth place Cowboys were Cooper Wuthnow (27th, 19:46.5), Austin Mather (29th, 20:06.8), Blaise McVan (30, 20:09.1) and Max Dunnam (31st, 20:14.4).
“Our boys get better every week,” Cook said. “I was really proud of their run today. Our league is just so tough. Clay Center, Wamego and Marysville are all loaded with talent. I feel we have talent too, we are just a little behind them in terms of experience and we are catching up to them.
“I know our top three guys are happy to get a medal. I think they are competitors, so they would like to have a little bit more. They ran tough just like they have all year and I am very proud of them. We will just gear up and try again next week.”
Chapman’s Jackson Wasylk crossed first for the Irish at 18th with a time of 19:12.3. Other Chapman runners were Chris Falls (21st, 19:22.0), Eli Winder (25th, 19:44.6), Dalton Obermeyer (34th, 21:12.2), Ethan Diercks (35th, 22:13.7), Tyler Dalke (36th, 22:23.1) and Chris Mason (37th, 22:27.3).
Final team scores for the boys had Wamego in first at 33 followed by Clay Center 37, Marysville 75, Abilene 87 and Chapman 128.
Abilene’s Dayton Wuthnow finished third place in boys junior varsity race with a time of 20:01.9. Chapman’s Levi Archer was fifth at 20:13.1. Also running for Abilene was Miqueas Mazo (13th, 21:10.3), Martin Fusinaz (15th, 21:31.7), Triston Stover (17th, 21:51.8), Toben Schwarz (18th, 21:52.7), Gavin Sykes (24th, 22:55.1) and Matthew Walter (32nd, 24:45.5).
Competing for Chapman were Jon Jenkins (12th, 21:07.9), Taryn Hoffman (16th, 21:35.1), Daniel Klukas (31st, 24:44.2) and Vincent Mowry (36th, 27:05.1).
The middle school runners ran two miles over the Abilene course with Wamego’s Sariah Pittenger winning the 7th grade girls race at 13:23.6. Second place went to Abilene’s Arissa Cathey with a time of 13:50.2. Clay Center’s Jorja Auld was third at 14:25.7.
Chapman didn’t have a runner in this event and Abilene’s second runner Riley-Ann Marbut finished 30th with a mark of 21:41.9.
Chapman’s Drew Elliott earned first place in the 7th grade boys race with a time 12:22.7. Second and third place went to Clay Center followed by Abilene’s Jackson Green in fourth place at 13:08.5.
Longhorn runner Rydge Longenecker placed sixth at 13:12.8 and Chapman’s Caleb Busse was eighth at 13:14.3. The Longhorns had two other runners finish in the Top 10 as Ethan Gonzales was ninth (13:40.6) and Matthew Zeller was 10th (13:45.3).
Also running for Abilene was Ethan Gustin (28th, 18:44.8).
Chapman 8th grader Ashlynn Acevedo won first place in her two-mile run at 13:17.8. Abilene’s Eden Bathurst was second at 13:42.5. Abilene’s Abigale Armstrong was eighth (17:17.3) and Aly Brown was 10th (19:01.0). Morgan Cunningham placed 13th for the Longhorns at 22:16.0.
Silas Miller from Marysville was the winner of the 8th grade boy’s event at 11:08.5. Wamego’s Harrison Cutting finished second at 11:12.4 and Clay Center’s Justin Wright was third (11:26.6).
Abilene had three runners finish in the Top 10 as Trevor Tovar crossed fourth at 12:11.4 and Levi Hager was eighth (12:45.6) while Adam Weishaar was ninth (12:45.9).
Also running for the Longhorns was Carson Woodworth (18th, 13:34.4), Maverick Metzger (20th, 14:17.3), Jack Hunter (21st, 14:18.7) and Justin Samsel (28th, 15:48.9). Chapman had Travis Leasure finish 23rd at 14:33.3.
Wamego won the 7th grade girls division followed by Clay Center and Fort Riley. Clay Center took the 7th grade boys team title followed by Abilene and Fort Riley. There were no team totals for 8th grade girls but Wamego won the boys division in 8th grade followed by Abilene, Fort Riley and Marysville.
The league meet ends the competition year for the middle school runners and the junior varsity teams, but the varsity will be at regionals next week with qualifiers headed to state the following week at Wamego.