CROSS COUNTRY: Monday, Oct. 26, 2020
Garden City High School sophomore Devin Chappel claimed the Class 6A regional boys cross country title on Saturday at the Cessna Activities Center in Wichita while senior teammate Brody Hoff took fifth to also qualify for the state cross country meet this Saturday, Oct. 31, in Augusta.
Jocelyn Sosa, a sophomore for the Lady Buffs, claimed second-place to qualify individually as the girls team was unable to qualify as a group, placing fourth.
The boys team was one point out of third-place and just missed qualifying its entire group despite the absence of its No. 5 runner.
“These kids represented our team well today,” head coach Krista Linenberger said late Saturday. “We are proud of how hard they fought and the PR’s (Personal records) they made today.”
Linenberger said the absence of the Buffs’ No. 5 runner was crucial as their No. 6 runner was also recovering from an earlier season injury and was not in top form.
Still, sophomore Chappel was impressive in his medal-winning race, clocking a time of 16:19.7 over the 5-kilometer (3.2 miles) layout. His mark was 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Austin Hoch of Derby (16:39.6). Hoff’s top 5 finish came in a time of 16:55.2.
“I’m super proud of Devin as the regional champion and Brody landing the fifth overall spot,” Linenberger said. “Both ran exceptionally well today and can’t help but be excited for them. Losing out on the team points by 1 is heartbreaking, but to be that close with our circumstances was just pure grit by these six guys. These guys should be proud of their efforts with those circumstances dealt to them.”
Sosa, meanwhile, ran her best race of the season, according to Linenberger in fashioning a time of 19:43.10 to finish behind champion Eva McKinzie of Wichita East, who clocked a time of 19:14.00. Sosa did, for the first time this season, defeat WAC champion Serenity Larson of Dodge City who was fourth in 20:02.00.
“Jocelyn took control early along with the Wichita East girl and they set the pace early and never looked back,” Linenberger said. “It was the best race we’ve seen her run all season.”
“The girls’ efforts were super, but fell slightly short with a fourth-place team finish,” said Linenberger of the 101 point total. Wichita East was third with 82 while Dodge City edged Derby, 42 to 43. On the boys side, the team champion was Derby with 67 points while Wichita West and Dodge City each scored 90 points. West won the tiebreaker for its sixth runner placing higher.
Other placers for the Lady Buffs were junior Andrea Hernandez (22nd, 22:07.2); sophomore Samantha Orozco (27th, 22:22.0); seniors Selah Hageman and Abigail Aguila (tied 29th, 23:07.0) and sophomore Lana Rodriguez (37th, 23:56.9).
For the boys, the remaining placers were sophomore Evan Gurrola (18th, 17:35.4), junior Kenji Craig (22nd, 17:42.1), junior Joel Contreras (45th, 19:06.5) and sophomore Hayden Bailey (47th, 19:16.7).
This year’s state meets have been divided into three sites — Class 6A and 5A will compete at 4-Mile Creek Resort near Augusta; Class 3A and 4A at Wamego Country Club; and Class 1A and 2A at Sand Plum Nature Trail in Victoria, just east of Hays.
The boys race will get under way at Noon while the girls will follow at approximately 12:35 p.m. Top 20 finishers earn medals.