Solid at Rim Rock

Cross country takes fourth at state meet for both Varsity divisions

Sophia Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

The crisp fall air was packed with the anticipation of competitive grandeur as Manhattan’s Varsity cross country teams prepared to race in their last event of the season — state.

Both teams placed fourth at Rim Rock in Lawrence, a ranking that they are more than pleased with. According to head coach Susan Melgares, just knowing that students ranked at all is a “significant milestone.”

“The kids went out and competed hard,” Melgares said. “[I’m] real proud of our kids and they made it a really fun season.”

The meet began with the boys race, which was more than eventful for Manhattan. Junior Daniel Harkin placed first, topping last year’s placement of second, making him the top-ranked runner in the state of Kansas.

“I was satisfied with my performance,” Harkin said. “I feel like everything went great.”

Harkin ran a time of 15:25.24, a whole 33 seconds before the second runner crossed the finish line. His first-place win was Manhattan’s first state title in five years, making his win even more notable. He was followed by Manhattan’s second runner, senior Luke Wichmann, who placed 15th with a time of 16:33.03. Manhattan’s third runner was sophomore Sean Anderson, who placed 35th with a time of 16:46.43.

“We had a lot of solid performances,” Melgares said. “[These kids] are not afraid of the competition. They’re not afraid of the course and I think that paid off for them.”

The girls team raced in a similar fashion. They were led by senior Ella Rosenkranz, who placed 12th with a time of 19:22.40. She was followed by freshman Amelia Knopp, who ran a time of 19:38.05 and placed 18th, and sophomore Jenna Keeley, who ran a time of 19:41.94 and placed 20th. Rosenkranz also met a new personal record, which was the fastest she’s ever gone at Rim Rock.

“I felt really good about it,” Rosenkranz said. “It hasn’t really sunk in for me yet, but I just feel sad that it’s over.”

For Rosenkranz, this was the last cross country meet that she would ever run in for MHS. She and the rest of the team’s seniors felt the bittersweet moment of knowing that it was still the end of their high school athletic careers.

“It’s always hard,” Melgares said. “It’s kind of sad in the end because it’s such fun.”

Despite the difficult goodbyes the team would have to give, they were also marveling in their successes. Along with new PR’s and improved rankings, the team was especially proud of Harkin, who received the Bob Timmons award, which goes to the meet’s fastest overall runner.

“The time that Daniel ran the race he ran was awesome,” Melgares said, “but I’m just as proud of the people who come out and wear a flamingo costume or wear glitter in their hair and all the kids who maybe didn’t place first.”

The state meet was beyond is impressive for everyone involved, whether they were coaches, runners or others along the course cheering them on. It proved to be exciting for just about everyone, regardless of what their role was.

“Even if you don’t get to race it, you come out and you come with a great attitude and supporting everybody,” Melgares said. “I’m just really proud to be a coach of the whole tribe.”