A look back at the state meet in Wamego
Published on -10/30/2012, 10:04 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
When Ness City junior Dray Carson was an underclassmen, he said he looked up to runners, such as Plainville's Brady Johnson, the 2011 Class 2A state cross country champion.
Now a state champion and Class 2A state meet record holder, Carson no longer needs to look up to Johnson.
Carson won the 2A state cross country meet Saturday at Wamego with a 2A record time of 16 minutes, 13.20 seconds on the 5,000-meter course, breaking the record of 16:21.53 set by Joe Warner of Johnson-Stanton County in 1999.
The year before, Johnson ran the second-fastest time in 2A state meet history with a 16:29.63.
"Knowing I beat his time, it is pretty unbelievable to think I'm at that level already," Carson said.
Looking back, Carson said he didn't anticipate breaking the course record.
"But I figured it would be pretty close," Carson said.
Carson has improved drastically since the beginning of the season. He started the year as Ness City's second runner while recovering from a hip injury suffered during the summer.
He was on crutches until late July and didn't start seriously training until mid August.
"I'm a big believer in summer training, and the fact that he pretty much missed out on all of his summer training and came back and did what he did was impressive," Ness City cross country coach Patrick Younger said.
Carson said he didn't know how to describe what it felt like to win state.
"I've been asked that multiple times," Carson said. "I really can't put it into words. It feels amazing. I would have rather had the state ring for the team, but it feels pretty good."
Carson was the highlight of Ness City's day at Wamego, but numerous other runners performed well.
The Ness City boys finished fourth in a strong field. Their five runner average of 17:47.82 was faster than the previous state champions from 2005-2011.
Senior Wyatt Beckman finished fifth in 16:57.50, also netting all-state honors.
Freshman Connor Hawkins, junior Dallas Winter and sophomore Tyler Morgan rounded out the team scoring in 43rd, 45th and 46th, respectively.
Younger said he thought he was more disappointed by their fourth-place finish than when they fell short of winning Class 1A state by 1 point in 2009.
"We didn't run our best that day (in 2009), but on Saturday, I felt like every single one of my kids ran their best," Younger said.
The Ness City girls also had a solid day, finishing fifth. Junior Jessie Rubottom led the way for them, placing fourth in 15:41.20 on the 4,000-meter course.
"Jessie ran extremely well," Younger said. "She ran her race plan exactly like (we) wanted her to."
Victoria wins first trophy
The Victoria boys' cross country team made history Saturday at Wamego, finishing third in Class 1A with 62 points.
Victoria coach Randy Stanley said it was the school's first trophy at state cross country.
"We thought we had a chance, but we really had to run well to do it," Stanley said. "And the kids, they ran great."
Senior Jublain Wohley led the way for Victoria, earning all-state honors with an 11th-place performance in 18:02.50. Senior Isaac Dreiling also netted all-state by finishing 20th in 18:29.90.
Junior Ryan Dreiling fell one place short of all-state, placing 21st in 18:32.20.
Freshman Jacy Braun rounded out the team scoring in 38th in 19:29.60.
"A lot of those kids had been there before," Stanley said. "I was really happy with what they did. They ran well as a team. We talked about closing all our gaps between each of our runners."
Victoria freshman Kiley Schmidtberger was the lone qualifier on the girls' side, placing 36th in 18:07.70.
Individual top 10 from area
Wheatland-Grinnell sophomore Taylor Tustin had a strong day, finishing second in Class 1A in 16:04.20.
A year after finishing state runner-up, Osborne senior Eilieen Mick finished seventh in 16:36.20. Hoxie senior Marlee McKenna was eighth in 16:39.20.
In Class 2A girls, Oberlin-Decatur Community sophomore Winter Polivka finished third in 15:40.00.