HESSTON — The Newton High School boys’ cross country team racked up the medal count to win a team title at the Swather Special Thursday at the Hesston Golf Course.
The Newton boys collected 19 medals (top 20 finishes) en route to the team title.
Newton won the large school (Classes 6-5-4A) standings with 34 points (top seven runners), followed by Great Bend in second at 36 and Dodge City at 43.
Great Bend won the large school girls with 11 points (top five runners). Dodge City was second at 24 and Hays was third at 25. Newton was ninth at 59 points.
“We had a lot of good performances,” Newton coach Richard Mick said. “We have a strong boys’ team with quality athletes and some depth to go with it. We got second in the senior race, the junior race and the sophomore race. We know the boys are going to be competitive. The main thing is we can’t be satisfied. We have to keep improving.”
The Newton boys were led by Erik Jantz, who took second in the senior boys’ race in 17:18.7. Jantz edged a Great Bend runner at the line.
“It was a great race,” Jantz said. “I felt great. Last week at Great Bend, I went out a little fast. I was making sure I’d stay back for the first mile. I was feeling good, so I moved up. That wasn’t my personal best, but it was a really good time for my second meet of the year, so it’s a good starting point. Great Bend has a lot of good seniors and they run a pack strategy. I was trying to stick with them and try to pass them at the end. I want to beat my times from last year. A good goal is to try and qualify the team for state and have a fun season.”
“Those Great Bend kids have been his nemesis,” Mick said. “He’s been competing against them for four years now. When I saw him at the 2 1/2-mile mark, he gapped them. They passed him, then he came back. He’s put in a lot of milage over the summer.”
In the sophomore boys’ race, Caleb Koontz was second in 19:05.0 and Simon Hodge was fifth in 19:24.3. Luke Schmidt was second in the junior boys’ race in 18:17.8 and Ben Gering was sixth in 19:08.1
The Railer girls were led by Ashley Salgado, who placed fourth in the senior girls’ race in 22:10.0.
“We’re super thin on girls, so they’ve got to stay healthy,” Mick said. “We’ve got five, six or maybe even seven we can put out there, but they have to stay healthy. For the boys, we need good team competition and keep improving. We look for good things out of both teams.”
The Railers went to a new meet for the team last week at Great Bend, after starting the season for decades at Manhattan. Next week, Newton skips the Buhler meet for a meet at Hays.
“We’re doing something different,” Mick said. “We’ve had the same schedule for 20 years. We’ve never been to Hays. It will be a new experience.”
In the small school (Classes 3-2-1A) girls’ standings, Southeast of Saline won with 10 points (top three finishers), followed by Beloit at 11 and Smoky Valley at 12. Berean Academy was fourth at 17, Hesston was 10th at 34, Halstead was 12th at 38, Sedgwick was 16th at 49 and Goessel was 21st at 61.
In the small school boys’ standings, Southeast of Saline won with 14 points (top five finishers), followed by Berean Academy at 27 and Hesston at 44. Halstead was sixth at 59, Goessel was 12th at 108, first-year team Moundridge was 14th at 120 and Sedgwick was 16th at 166.
Berean Academy’s Andrew Harder won the freshman boys’ race in 18:06.7.
“That’s a PR by a huge sum,” Harder said. “I was hoping for about an 18:30. I didn’t run a lot last year. During track season, I did a lot better. I didn’t know that I was good at distance races. I’d like to run a 17:30. I want to please God with everything I do.”
Drew Janzen was fourth in the junior boys’ race in 17:41.2,
Eli Nord was fifth in the sophomore race in 18:40.0.
For the Berean girls, Brooke Wiebe finished third in the senior girls’ race in 21:35.8. Sonya Zimmerman placed third in the junior girls’ race in 23:01.0.
“We had some good races,” Berean coach Lewis Wiebe said. “All of our kids ran well. We had some good times today. I was really happy with times. The junior boys ran well together and had some pretty good times. A freshman boy won the race. Our girls ran better times than expected. … We just have to be improving.”
Hesston’s Carter Funk finished fifth in the senior boys’ race in 18:53.9.
Elise Clark finished fifth in the sophomore girls’ race in 23:41.3
“That was good,” Hesston coach Nealee Johnston said. “Everybody is running hard and working hard in practice, so it was good to come away with a plaque. We’ve had a pretty loaded league for several years now and it’s loaded again this year. We’re trying to get back to state again this year.”
After several years of low numbers, the Swather girls finally have enough to score points at meets.
“We have seven girls, so we can have a girls team again, which is really nice,” Johnston said.
Goessel’s Jerah Schmidt took second in the senior boys’ race in 18:29.5.
“It was a good race,” Schmidt said. “It was pretty good today. I’d like to make it to state and place at state. We got seventh as team (last year) and I was 44th.”
Halstead’s Greg Carr placed fourth in the senior boys’ race in 18:48.5. Parker Schroeder finished fifth in the junior girls’ race in 23:43.1.
Moundridge’s Mac Unruh finished fifth in the freshman boys’ race in 19:51.3.
The large school winners for the girls were Jocelyn Sosa of Garden City in the freshman race in 21:42.4, Stella Foster of Hutchinson in the sophomore race in 21:22.8, Briana Perez of Great Bend in the junior race in 22:48.8 and Mayra Ramirez of Great Bend in the senior race in 20:26.3.
The large school winners for the boys were Kaiden Esfeld of Great Bend in the freshman race in 17:42.1, Martin Marquez of Dodge City in the sophomore race in 18:33.2, Brody Hoff of Garden City in the junior race in 18:05.7 and Noah Cole in the senior race in 16:58.4.
The small school winners for the girls were Madison Sutterfield of Meade in the freshman race in 20:21.7, Jentrie Alderson of Southeast of Saline in the sophomore race in 19:55.3, Kendall Coombes of Douglass in the junior race in 22:00.7 and Hayley Burks of Beloit in the senior race in 20:24.6.
The other small school winners for the boys were Dylan Sprecker of Southeast of Saline in the sophomore race in 17:30.4, Kendall Coombes of Douglass in the junior race in 22:00.7 and Nicholas Martisko of Inman in the senior race in 17:21.9.
In all, there were about 46 schools represented and 755 runners who finished the races.