AJ Grutsch | editor in chief
Girls cross country placed fifth at state Saturday, with sophomore Payton Wurtz finishing in second place. The team improved from a sixth-place finish last season.
While the girls ran the Wamego course earlier in the season, it’s still difficult for most runners. “This is one of the most challenging courses we run on,” coach Roger Alderman said.
“It’s obviously a more difficult course so it’s not exactly a PR race. It’s one of my favorites though, because I love the hills,” Wurtz said. “One thing that Alderman focused on this year especially was working on hills, when KSHSAA announced that state was going to be at Wamego again. I really think that all the hard work paid off at state and being able to handle the hills got me secured into second place.”
Wurtz finished second for the second-straight year, losing only to three-time champion Chesney Peterson of Stanton County.
Senior Rebekah Stuhlsatz barely missed medaling for a fourth year, finishing 21st with a time of 21:42. Sthuhlsatz did receive Academic All-State, which recognizes runners with a GPA of 3.75 who place top-30. Stuhlsatz is the first 2-time winner for the award on the girls team.
Junior Sophia Castillo (73rd, 24:23) had a new best time for this season. Senior Jenna Donaldson (67th, 23:58), sophomore Isabelle Stuhlsatz (78th, 24:52) and junior Sienna Jones (91st, 26:43) were all within 12 seconds of their season bests.
“This is a very special team and we have a good thing going here even beyond the successes we’ve had at the meets,” Alderman said.
Finishing the season feels bittersweet for some runners. “It’s sad for my high school season to come to an end, but I made a lot of memories with my team over the years,” Donaldson said.
“I’m proud of the team and how we did. I’m sad that’s it over and that it’s my last year. I will miss the team and all the memories that were made over the years and can’t wait to see what they do next year,” Stuhlsatz said.
Photos by AJ Grutsch.