Several compete at season-opening Monarch Invitational
Published on -9/2/2012, 7:16 PM
By KLINT SPILLER
It was hot and muggy for a cross country race, but runners at the second annual Monarch Invitational persevered.
Runners competed on a windless day with temperatures rising to the mid-90s, but several managed to post personal bests.
"Our times resembled what we ran in ideal conditions, so I was very encouraged with that," said Matt Dumler, Thomas More Prep-Marian cross country coach. "The kids competed well. Some kids improved by over a minute from the time trial a week ago."
The races were separated in six divisions: junior-senior boys and girls, freshman-sophomore boys and girls, eighth grade and seventh grade. The high school boys ran a 5,000-meter race, the high school girls competed in a 4,000-meter race, the eighth graders ran a two mile and the seventh graders ran a mile.
Ness City senior Wyatt Beckman set the 5,000-meter course record in 16 minutes and 57 seconds, winning the junior-senior boys race.
Beckman, a Class 2A all-state runner last season, said it was close to his personal best.
Beckman kept pace with a pair of Hutchinson-Trinity runners before pulling away for the win.
"I stuck to my strategy for the most part," he said. "It was nice the two Trinity runners took it out. I didn't really want to lead from the get-go. I kind of hung with them, and I wanted to make a strong move in between the mile and two-mile mark and try to hold on and put a gap in."
TMP senior Heather Ruder was the top runner on the girls' side, wining the junior-senior division with a time of 15:50 on the 4,000-meter course.
Ruder grabbed the lead early and never let go.
"She looked like she did during her freshmen and sophomore years," Dumler said. "She just attacked, and she didn't let up. Last year, we kind of saw some wavering on that. It almost looked like she questioned the way she ran. ... Today, she set her mind to it and decided she wasn't going to lose to anybody."
Though they were individual champions, their teams weren't.
Ness City finished second on the boys' side to Hutchinson-Trinity. Trinity won with 19 points to Ness City's 23. Victoria was third with 40, and TMP was fourth with 68.
Ness City won the girls' team title with 16 points. TMP was second with 26.
Ruder gave the Monarchs a boost, but the rest of their team scoring was helped by the freshmen-sophomore race.
Senior Allison Pfeifer and junior Kayla Walker finished sixth (17:34) and ninth (18:03), while freshmen Shelby Stouffer and Jordyn Manhart were sixth (19:32) and seventh (19:43) in the lower division, respectively.
"It was hot," Walker said. "It was hot for everybody, but we did pretty good for the heat. I think we did what we came to do, and we all performed well."
Freshman Andrew Hess led the boys' team. He finished fourth in 19:43.
The Monarchs competed without sophomore Toni Staab who pulled out of the race because of a hurt ankle.
Matt Mindrup was ninth in the freshman-sophomore race, while Nick Dopita, Adam Urban and Austin Dinkel were 14th, 16th and 19th in the junior-senior division.
On the girls' side, Ness City had five runners finish inside their respective division's top five.
Jessie Rubottom and Taylor Gabel were second (16:26) and fifth (17:26) in the junior-senior division, while Jenace Moody, Addie Beutler and Ashley Moore were second (17:35), third (17:35) and fourth (18:46) in the freshman-sophomore division, respectively.
"They are going to be good all year," Dumler said. "They were fun to watch. That's a program the kids have bought into the big summer miles."
Beckman paced Ness City's boys' team, but the Eagles also had four other top-10 finishes.
Dray Carson and Dallas Winter were third (17:28) and ninth (19:24) in the junior-senior race, while Tyler Morgan and Connor Hawkins were third (18:53) and seventh (20:10) in the freshman-sophomore division.
Victoria had six medalists on the boys' and girls' sides.
In the junior-senior boys' race, Jublain Wohler was fifth in 17:51. Isaac Dreiling was eighth in 19:20, and Ryan Dreiling was 10th in 19:41. In the freshman-sophomore boys' race, Ryan Bleske was sixth in 19:58 and Jacy Braun was 10th in 20:41.
Kiley Schmidtberger was one of two Victoria girls who completed the race. She finished fifth in the freshman-sophomore division in 19:07.
In the junior high races, Allen Zollinger of Hays Middle School won the seventh-grade race in 6:22, while Taylor Teel of TMP won the girls' mile in 6:26. In the eighth-grade race, Mark Loftus of TMP won 13:42, while Marie Riveles of Hays Middle School won the girls' side in 13:55.