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SPOTLIGHT
Drees places sixth at WAC for Hays High; Indians fifth

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Drees places sixth at WAC for Hays High; Indians fifth

Published on -10/12/2012, 10:23 AM

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By BRETT MARSHALL

Special to The Hays Daily News

GARDEN CITY -- The Hays High School cross country teams finished a distant fifth in both the boys and girls divisions of Thursday's Western Athletic Conference championship.

The races were held at the demanding Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, with the course layout meandering its way through the back nine of the hilly course, located in the sandhills south of town.

For the Indians, senior Derek Drees had the top finish of the day as he placed sixth with a time of 17:28.4 over the 5-kilometer layout. Dodge City's Oscar Carmona led the Red Demons (16:56.8) to the boys team title with 33 points. Hays finished behind Liberal (61), Garden City (67) and Great Bend (91).

On the girls side, the Indians got a ninth-place finish from freshman Haley George (17:26.3) over the 4-kilometers course. The girls finished with 113 points, behind repeat champion Garden City (19), Great Bend (67), Dodge City (81) and Liberal (84).

Garden City's girls went 1-2-3 as juniors Alex Miller, Kayla Doll and Chelsea Jackson paced the Buffaloes.

For Drees, the roly-poly Dunes layout presented him, as well as other Indians' runners, with a superb test.

"Other than Rim Rock (state meet site in Lawrence), this is as tough as we run," Drees said after the race. "It was a battle out there."

Drees said he felt strong in the early part of the race, but perhaps faltered a bit in the middle. Then, it was up the big hill on the 17th hole, with about one mile to go, that really provided a test for Drees and others.

"I was impressed with the layout when we went out and walked it early," Drees said. "Then I saw that hill. Boy, that was a tough one to get up. But, it's a great tune-up for the regionals and for state. We want to qualify for state and we've set the bar high."

Senior Ethan Fort also ran well, according to coach Jerold Harris. Fort was 12th with a time of 18:11.7. Next was Hunter Bizzell in 25th (18:58.7), Landon Munsch in 30th in 19:14.2 and then Joshua Brungard, Blake Mathews and Austin Chambers in 32nd (19:23.6), 33rd (19:24.2) and 35th (19:36.2).

"I thought Derek competed tough today and that Ethan competed well for us today," Indian coach Jerold Harris said. "We knew we'd have a tough time today with the caliber of the teams here. I'm proud of the way we competed. I knew we'd be on the outside looking in, but the kids have continued to work hard."

Other finishers for the girls included Reagan Kaiser in 23rd (18:45.0), Summer Smith, Wendy Zimmerman and Megan Dinkel in 26th, 27th and 28th places with times of 18:58.6, 19:10.1 and 19:13.9. Bailee Leiker rounded out the HHS results with a 30th-place finish in 19:30.6. All of the Indian girls are underclassmen.

"They're a great group, and I think we'll continue to get better," Harris said.

The Indians will next compete in the Class 5A regional on Oct. 20 at Great Bend.

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