Girls cross country runs away with league title

Justin Carlson | opinion editor

The Girls Cross Country team walked away from the Mid-East League meet in Riley as champions — three ladies finishing within the top 10. 

Freshman Payton Wurtz finished first with a time of 20:13, making her the first individual champion since Maddie Hess in 2016. Junior Rebekah Stuhlatz and Sophomore Sophia Castillo finished fourth and seventh respectively. 

Sophomore Sophia Castillo runs at Centralia. The team competes at regionals October 23 in Chase County. Photo by Sarah Vanstory.

Senior Cecelia Emmert said she was happy about the team’s outcome. “I feel great ending the normal season with a league win. We have such a great team this year and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’m hoping that we can take this win with us onto regionals and state.”

The girls are heading into regionals with a record of 26-7, which according to head coach Roger Alderman will put the girls as “one of the favorites to qualify [for state].”

Regarding the performance at League, Alderman said “It was a dominant performance from our girls. By the end of the race it was obvious that we had won before they even figured the scores.”

“I lost by a couple of seconds each year of junior high, so this was my revenge time.”

freshman Payton Wurtz

Freshman Payton Wurtz, our league champion, takes this race as a great chance to prove herself. “It felt so good. I was smiling the whole time, she says, “I lost by a couple of seconds each year of junior high, so this was my revenge time.” 

Wurtz said she was nervous heading into the race. “I overheard the cross country moms from Rock Creek talking about “the plan,” which was to use me as a pacer and pass me at the end of the race. It didn’t work for them because I really kicked it in during the last half of the race and they couldn’t keep up.”

Freshman Payton Wurtz runs at Centralia. Wurtz finished first at the Mid-East League meet Thursday. Photos by Sarah Vanstory.

The boys fought hard at League but came up short of a victory against formidable competition. However, the day was beneficial with several members of the team getting personal bests. The average improvement of time for both teams was one minute ten seconds.

Alderman commented “Our boys team won’t be favored [for state], but they are rapidly improving and can put themselves in the hunt.”

The Regional Meet will be in Chase County on Saturday, October 23. Alderman urges spectators to come support our runners as they “really feed off the encouragement they get from our community.”

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