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Hays High in stacked field at Rim Rock

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

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School cross country coach Jerold Harris said his primary goal was to make sure his boys' squad season didn't end last Saturday at the Class 5A regional in Great Bend.

Mission accomplished.

Now, Harris said he just wants his team to run its best and let the chips fall where they may at the state meet.

The Hays High boys will compete in the first race of the day at 10 a.m. at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence.

"Our seniors have been so awesome," Harris said. "... They have been such good leaders. They want to go out on a high note."

This will be the Indian seniors second trip to the state meet. They qualified last season and finished 10th.

With a stacked field this season, Harris said it will be difficult for his squad to take home a trophy, but a top-eight finish would be a successful meet.

"We want to go out and run our best basically," Hays High senior Joshua Brungardt said. "We placed 10th last year, so we want to go out and try to do better than that."

Hays High senior Derek Drees has been the Indians' top runner. He finished second at the Class 5A regional at Great Bend in 16 minutes and 46 seconds and paced his team to a third-place finish behind WAC schools Liberal and Great Bend.

Entering state, Drees is tied for the ninth-fastest 5A regional time.

Harris said he hopes Drees will earn all-state honors this season. Last year, no Indian finished in the top 20.

"Derek Drees has been running so phenomenally," Harris said. "If he doesn't go and get a medal, I'll be a little disappointed for him."

The Indians are dealing with a bit of adversity this week. Brungardt battled an illness early in the week, and senior Ethan Fort is dealing with a hip flexor.

However, Brungardt said he's not too worried about placings. He just wants to end his career on a good note with a squad that might be the best he's been on in his four years at Hays High.

"For our seniors, it's our last race," Brungardt said. "We want to finish strong and leave nothing behind."

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