More than 3,000 runners competed in 12 races Saturday at Rim Rock Farm outside of Lawrence. Great Bend went against the best of the best. Senior Kaiden Esfeld finished 10th overall in the boys' gold race, and sophomore Marissa Boone led the Lady Panthers to an 11th-place finish in the gold race.
Salina Central sophomore Katelyn Rupe won the Class 5A 1600 and 3200m track golds as a freshman. She has emerged as perhaps the state's premiere cross country athlete this fall, winning Saturday's race by nearly a minute in 17:45. Stanton County senior Chesney Peterson also ran a sub-18 against lesser competition Saturday in southwest Kansas.
Boone ran 28th overall in 20:09.50 to take her turn leading Great Bend. Junior Addy Nicholson ran two spots behind her in 20:10.11. Junior Morgan Beckham moved to third on the team with a 76th-place finish in 21:18.00, and junior Eliana Beckham ran 78th in 21:19.80. Sophomore Diane Alvarez picked up the final team points in 89th with a time of 21:38.20. Freshman Sienna Smith ran 98th in 21:49.10, and sophomore Reese King place 118th in 22:20.00
Missouri's Blue Springs South won the team title with 144 points, followed by Topeka's Washburn Rural with 152 points. Great Bend finished 11th overall and fifth among Kansas teams with 286 points. Mill Valley, now a Class 6A team, scored 271 points to finish ahead of the Lady Panthers in 10th.
Esfeld cracks top-10 in boys' race
Esfeld missed his top time of the season on one of the top cross country courses in the Midwest, but he still finished in the top-10 with a time of 16:05.80.
Shawnee Mission East senior Wyatt Haughton won a tight race by 0.6 seconds in 15:18.50, just beating Aquinas senior Colby King. Esfeld ran fourth among Class 5A Kansas runners.