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FHSU women's basketball picked fourth in MIAA, ESU first -10/22/2014, 2:28 PM

HHS soccer shut out by Garden City -10/22/2014, 10:11 AM

Tiger women sixth at Park Classic -10/22/2014, 10:11 AM

Tigers start prep for Bearcats -10/22/2014, 2:22 PM

Blocks Britz's specialty for KSU -10/22/2014, 10:10 AM

Royals must fight against history -10/22/2014, 10:10 AM

K.C. roughed up in Game 1 -10/22/2014, 10:10 AM

Castorino named MIAA Men's Soccer Athlete of the Week -10/21/2014, 3:23 PM

Babyak, Thompson earn MIAA weekly honors -10/21/2014, 3:05 PM

Hays High girls claim 4A title -- TMP sixth -10/21/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP soccer falls at Garden City -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Manning, Broncos pound 49ers -10/20/2014, 10:26 AM

Charles the Chiefs' all-time leader -10/20/2014, 10:17 AM

'Boys move to 6-1 -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

K.C. kicks past Chargers -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

Jump back to 1985 -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive with win at Talladega -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

FHSU women earn shutout, set record -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

KSU sits atop Big 12 -10/19/2014, 6:42 AM

Early mistakes sink Jayhawks -10/19/2014, 6:41 AM

Tigers nab 'W' at Emporia -10/19/2014, 8:21 PM

Knights secure district, playoff spot -10/19/2014, 6:34 AM

TMP claims MCL tourney title -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Monarchs take team to Class 4A state -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Area prep football roundup, Oct. 17 -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Indian volleyball second at WAC -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

HHS has high expectations for 4A golf finale -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Buhler hands Hays High first loss in blowout -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

FHSU men win eighth straight -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

FHSU Tiger Open XC results -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

Tiger women record third consecutive shutout -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Tiger volleyball wins third straight match -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Indians' Forinash goes 0-2 at 4A state -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

TMP falls in district opener to Beloit -10/17/2014, 11:46 AM

HHS soccer falls to Bishop Carroll -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

FHSU men's soccer wins seventh straight -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Tigers look to climb back above .500 -10/17/2014, 10:38 AM

HHS fourth in WAC meet -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP boys 2nd, girls 3rd at Lakeside -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP volleyball goes 2-0 in first day at MCL -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Indians' Forinash in 4A state field -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Wichita State's Darius Carter shows off his jumper -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Norton's Griffith bucks the trend

Published on -10/26/2012, 10:16 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Norton sophomore cross country runner Sierra Griffith has a secret weapon she credits for her success this season, and it comes in a burgundy-colored can.

It's not some form of illegal doping. Griffith drinks Dr. Pepper an hour before every race, and she said she typically drinks three a day, defying conventional long-distance running wisdom.

Many runners swear off pop for the entire season, and though Griffith did that during her freshman year, she kept the habit going from this summer through all of the 2012 cross country season.

Griffith said her coach, George Rossi, found out and told her to slow down, but she claimed it had disastrous effects.

"My coach, Mr. Rossi, had me taper off of pop for a week, and I slowed down and became the third runner and got my worst place," Griffith said.

Griffith kept up the habit ever since, bringing a pop in her lunch box to every meet. However, she said she thinks she's the only one on the team that does it.

"I think it is just me," Griffith said.

Griffith, her soda and the Norton girls' cross country team will make an appearance at the Class 3A state cross country meet on Saturday at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence, and they hope to make a lasting impression.

The 3A girls' race is at 10:30 a.m.

The Bluejays are one of the favorites to take home a state championship.

Norton finished a distant second last season behind Douglass and won the state title in 2010.

"I think we are going to go and run our hardest," Griffith said. "There's some tough teams we have to compete against."

Norton will face a number of challengers. Rossi said Norton, reigning champion Douglass, regional champion Easton-Pleasant Ridge, Gypsum-Southeast of Saline and Salina-Sacred Heart should be in a tight heat for the title hunt.

"It doesn't take much -- somebody having a bad day or somebody having a good day," Rossi said. "That could swing it all around. We are not the hands-down favorite by any stretch of the word."

The Norton girls don't have a lead runner that will challenge for the individual title. They create their success by their pack running.

The Bluejays' split between their No. 1 and No. 5 runners is typically less than a minute, and at their Class 3A regional at Cimarron, the Bluejays had five runners finish in the top 10, winning the meet with 29 points.

"We really preach (pack running) a lot at practice," Rossi said. "It's been our calling card so far."

Griffith has been their team's lead runner for much of the year, but Norton has multiple runners capable of earning all-state honors.

Last season, Katelyn Engelbert, now a junior, was the Bluejays' top runner, finishing ninth at state in 16 minutes and 37 seconds. Griffith was 15th in 16:57.60, and Julia Kent, now a senior, was 19th in 17:10.80.

The Bluejays returned all three girls and have had strong performances by a number of other girls, including junior Darcy Bainter, freshman Molly Maddy, junior Marissa Maddy and senior Kamilla Jones.

Griffith might have been Norton's biggest surprise this season, as she's consistently led her squad to top finishes all season.

Rossi said as a freshman, Griffith experienced a learning curve and improved drastically by the end of the season.

"This year, she's been very consistent," Rossi said. "We talked about a plan before a race, and so far, she has been able to go out and carry out exactly what we've tried to get her to do."

Though the girls get a lot of the attention, the Norton boys also qualified, placing second at their regional with 64 points -- four points behind regional champion Holcomb. The 3A boys' race is at noon.

Norton junior Marc Miller was the Bluejays' top runner at the regional, finishing fourth.

"They fly under the radar, and the girls get a lot more attention than they do," Rossi said. "But they have been working really hard, and we are very happy that they got to go. Heck, we almost won the regional."

Other 3A qualifiers

Sophomore Wyatt Ratzlaff was Phillipsburg's lone qualifier.

Ratzlaff won the Cimarron regional by eight seconds over Kismet-Southwestern Heights senior Peter Wiebe and Scott City senior Joey Meyer, an all-state runner last season.

This is Ratzlaff's second trip to state after qualifying as a freshman. He finished 39th at state last season in 18:43.

The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls also qualified, finishing third at the Cimarron regional.

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