Running Up That Hill | Girls cross country 2nd at regionals, Wurtz, Stuhlsatz finish 1st and 4th

AJ Grutsch | editor in chief

Girls cross country is headed back to state after finishing second at regionals Saturday in Alma.

The tough home course was a little tougher because of the weather. “A strong south wind really slowed times for all teams, but I thought we handled it better than most,” coach Roger Alderman said.

Sophomore Payton Wurtz won her eighth race of the year with a time of 21:00.

Wurtz, who finished 2nd at state last year, has high hopes of bringing home a trophy. “I’m really excited to get out there and see what we can do,” Wurtz said. 

Senior Rebekah Stuhlsatz finished 4th with a time of 22:18. Stuhlsatz has qualified for state all four years of her high school career and if she places she will have been the only girl in WHS history to place at state all four years. 

Other runner were Jenna Donaldson, 17th (24:46), Isabelle Stuhlsatz, 23rd (25:50), Sophia Castillo, 26th (26:24), and Sienna Jones 35th (28:10). 

The team finished second, losing only to Sacred Heart. Coach Roger Alderman said the team outperformed expectations heading into the meet. “Based on season best times from all entries, our girls should have finished 3rd, about 25 points off of 2nd and only 14 points ahead of 4th place. Instead we finished in 2nd and were 40 points ahead of 3rd place.”

The girls qualified as a team for the third time in four years. They finished sixth last season. They enter state with a season record of 34-16.

“I am ready to run so hard that I won’t be able to walk afterwards. I’m ready to show people up and prove that our team is amazing and should be feared,” Stuhlsatz said. 

They compete at 11:10 a.m. Saturday at Wamego Country Club. 

The boys season ended with a seventh place team finish. Sophomore Rhett Parry was the top finisher at 18th (20:44). 

Other runners were Matthew Vanstory, 30th (21:28), James Poulter, 41st, (22:07), AJ Grutsch, 57th (23:15), Shawn Moser, 66th (23:57), and Brandyn Glotzbach, 72nd (24:55).

The team graduates seniors AJ Grutsch and Robert Potter. 

Pictured above: Sophomore Payton Wurtz runs at regional cross country Saturday in Alma. Wurtz finished 1st with a time of 21:00. The team finished second, qualifying for state Saturday in Wamego. Photo by Baylie Tharman.

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