Cross Country boys runners up at State, girls fifth

Julianna Poe, Online Editor-in-Chief

From State in Augusta, both Manhattan High Varsity cross country teams took home top-five finishes out of 12 total teams, with boys in second and girls in fifth. 

“The race itself was not fun, like a lot of cross country races, like legit painful in general,” senior Parker Dawdy said. “But overall the team came together really well and it was great getting to run with both my teammates and all the other competitors.”

For the boys, their season has collected several first and second place titles, with State as their fourth second and League as their third first. Leading the team with the best individual placing across both boys and girls was senior Ben Mosier in ninth place, just half a second from eighth.

“I’ve been working hard all season to place at State, so it’s just satisfying seeing the hard work pay off,” Mosier said.

At Mosier’s heels, senior Max Bowyer took 14th, freshman Landon Knopp claimed 26th, sophomore Ethan Bryant placed 40, juniors Kolby Grogg and Silas Mills took 49th and 60th respectively and Dawdy claimed 74th out of 104 runners.

“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking to start with,” Dawdy said. “Also, just to think about [how] I will never get to run with those guys on that type of … competitive level again was definitely a little sad, but overall, just thinking back on the season, … I wouldn’t have done anything different.”

On the girls side, the team started the season with three first-place races and then landed fourth and third team medals before two second-place finishes at League and Regionals. Ultimately the girls team ended their season in fifth at State, a rank higher than last year at State.

In order was freshman Rebekah Pickering in 16th, sophomore Haley Henningson in 25th, seniors Rachel Corn and Morgan Turner in 40th and 54th respectively and freshmen Malea Jobity, Jalissa Jobity and Amelia Anderson in 57th, 71st and 74th respectively. The girls raced among 103 total runners.

“I did not think I was going to be as sad as I was, but stepping on the line and knowing … this is my last time that I’m probably ever going to competitively run — I’m not going to stop running, but it was just really sad,” Turner said.

At State, the team ran for their fellow cross country runner junior Amelia Knopp, who this past Friday was diagnosed with leukemia.

“The circumstances that we obviously got put under made it not necessarily challenging, but just very meaningful,” Turner said. “We wanted to race for Amelia.”

For Mosier, Bowyer, Dawdy, Corn and Turner, Saturday was their last cross country race of their high school careers.

“[It’s] bittersweet,” Mosier said. “It’s nice to be done and have a break, but … cross country was a big part of my life and it’s kind of sad that that might’ve been my last cross country race I’ll ever run.”

As the upperclassmen leave the reigns to the underclassmen, Dawdy leaves the team with some advice for their future cross country seasons.

“I got back to the starting line after my race and there was … one coach [who] was talking to one of his runners and he said that ‘the faster you run, the sooner your season ends,’ which definitely felt true, especially this season,” Dawdy said. “It feels like …. my high school cross country career … just got started this year, because I finally decided to run [in] the offseason. But now it’s over. So just … go out and take advantage of the early years and … get the runs in then so you can … enjoy it for longer.”