Hays High cross country loaded with runners for 2012
Published on -8/29/2012, 10:16 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
When Jerold Harris served as co-coach with Rick Keltner at Hays High School, Harris said Keltner would try to have enough numbers to require two buses to take to meets.
Harris and the Indians have achieved that goal.
The Indians have 50 runners out for cross country -- the most in Harris' time coaching Hays High -- and will need two buses to take his teams Thursday to the Great Bend Invitational.
"We've got more depth than we've had in many, many years," Harris said. "It's exciting."
The boys' side returns its top runner from last season -- senior Derek Drees.
In just his first year out for cross country, Drees ran sub-18 minutes for most of the year.
The Indians also return their second runner, senior Josh Brungardt, who finished in 17 minutes and 53 seconds last season at the Class 5A state meet at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence.
Other returners include juniors Landon Munsch and Kendall Kandt.
The team also got a welcome newcomer in senior Ethan Fort.
Fort, who has competed on the boys' soccer team in the past, had a foot injury that prevented him from playing soccer, but he was a state qualifier last spring in the 1,600-meter run, finishing eighth at state in 4:42.
"He ran with us this summer, which I thought was to stay in shape for soccer, but he decided to give cross country a try," Harris said.
"Ethan's still got to learn how to run the 5K yet. He still ran well at the time trial, but you've got to get the body used to running 3.1 miles. ... It's a beast of a race."
With the addition of Fort, Harris said he thinks his boys' team should be strong.
"That lead group is really pushing each other," Harris said. "I have to get on them every now and then and say, 'There's no racing. Save that for another day.' They are just itching to go."
Harris said the girls' team is 12 runners deep.
"Our varsity is going to change every week and be a dogfight on the girls' side," Harris said.
The Indians return junior Wendy Zimmerman and sophomore Summer Smith.
Sophomore Mattison Schlaefli went out for cross country after playing volleyball last season, and Harris said he expects her to be a top runner for the squad.
Junior Reagan Kaiser, freshman Haley George, senior Arin Pfannestiel and junior Megan Dinkel will round out the varsity roster for Great Bend.
Sophomores Bailee Leiker and Jenna Luebbers suffered injuries early in practice and didn't make the top seven at the team's time trials, but he said he expects them and senior Kaitlin Gulley to also be factors on varsity.
"I think we have 12 girls who could run varsity at any moment," Harris said.
The races begin at 4 p.m at Great Bend.