In a last minute meet, the Manhattan High cross country team knocked the socks off the teams competing at the Hays Invitational on Thursday, taking first across boys and girls Varsity and Junior Varsity.
“You can look at their faces [and] you know it’s hard for them and they just keep on getting it done,” head coach Susan Melgares said. “[I’m] just super proud of them.”
The Boys Varsity team took back their first place title, with senior Ben Mosier in first place. Not far behind, freshman Landon Knopp took third, sophomore Ethan Bryant fourth, senior Max Bowyer seventh and to complete the team score junior Kolby Grogg in 10th. Their team pack time — or how far apart the first runner and fifth runner were — was 39 seconds.
“It’s nice to know that [we] don’t just have … one or two good runners,” Mosier said, “but that everyone is … grouped up in the top bunch.”
Girls Varsity continued their streak of first place team finishes; however, instead of their consistent two in the top 10, six of their runners filled second through seventh place. In order, freshman Rebekah Pickering, sophomore Haley Henningson, junior Amelia Knopp, seniors Rachel Corn and Morgan Turner, and freshman Malea Jobity. For the girls, their pack time was 23 seconds, or 36 seconds counting their sixth runner.
“The last 1K was really hard for me because my hair [tie] fell out and then … I was really struggling,” Pickering said. “[My favorite part] was after I was done racing … I don’t like [the] before [part], but I really liked watching the boys race after.”
Both JV teams filled their first through sixth place spots with Manhattan High titles. Altogether, the JV teams walked away with 13 medalists in the top 10 while Varsity claimed 11.
“I felt really good just [as a] team and [with] individual performances,” Mosier said. “The weather conditions were not really good, being really hot and pretty windy, so I know everyone on the team was just going for placing high.”
According to Melgares, due to the extreme weather conditions, the “times weren’t awesome.” However, the times weren’t as important as the way the runners competed.
“In cross country, time is not the main factor,” Melgares said. “It’s how you compete.”
The team did not race this Saturday in the Missouri Southern Stampede. Next stop is Rim Rock on Saturday, Sept. 25, where the team will compete against teams they will later play at Regionals.