After running miles and miles this season, the Skyline girl’s cross-country team is finally getting a break.


Yes, they’re still practicing this week as they prepare for the state meet in Wamego, but compared to earlier in the season, these workouts are a piece of cake.


“We've been keeping practices fairly short with a mix of easy running and some light speed work,” said coach Eric Bronson. “At this point in the season, we just need to stay sharp without aggravating any of the nagging aches and pains.”


After running miles and miles this season, the Skyline girl’s cross-country team is finally getting a break.

Yes, they’re still practicing this week as they prepare for the state meet in Wamego, but compared to earlier in the season, these workouts are a piece of cake.

“We've been keeping practices fairly short with a mix of easy running and some light speed work,” said coach Eric Bronson. “At this point in the season, we just need to stay sharp without aggravating any of the nagging aches and pains.”

Staying sharp means running shorter distances and taking that unused practice time to bond as a team.

“The girls have been doing quite a bit together in the way of team bonding and we will be having a send-off meal on Friday before we leave,” he said. “The parents have been great to organize some special recognition for the team.”

Since the move from 1A to 2A came midway through the season, Bronson has had to change his goal of finishing top three at state. In 1A, that was doable, but in 2A, the competition is much tougher.

“Running in class 2A is a whole different ball game compared to 1A,” he said. “As a 1A team, we planned to make it into the top three at the state level. I still have high hopes for our 2A performance, but the competition is a lot tougher.

“More of the strong 2A teams are from northern and eastern Kansas, so we never see them in the regular season. I still expect our girls to go out and run on Saturday with a competitive mentality, but realize that just getting to state was an accomplishment.”

With freshman Brooke Fisher leading the way after a third-place finish at the 2A regional, this Skyline team has plenty of talent. Megan Pyles, Patty Ibarra, Allison Sanders and Katelyn Kumberg all finished in the top 25 at the Meade regional, while Vicky Ibarra and Ashley Timm have been solid all season. Staying competitive as individual runners will be important as the T-Birds return to state, but finishing well as a team will be the key to the their success.

“I think the girls started out with a strong team mentality, but began running a bit more for themselves mid-season,” Bronson said. “That team mentality is back. I think they realize that whatever they accomplish at state will be a team effort.”

While the times haven’t always shown it, Bronson said his team has been steadily improving this year as a whole.

“Individual times have fluctuated a bit through the season, but then, not all courses are the same,” he said. “Overall, the performance times relative to the difficulty of the courses have improved.”

As far as specific goals for this final meet of the season, Bronson mentioned a universal one that applies to next season as well – making sure his runners finish strong.

“An area of improvement for next year will be running an entire race with determination,” he said. “I feel like we lose a little bit of ground in the last 1200 meters or so of a race. The girls all put on a good kick at the end to finish strong; we just need a bit more in the 1000 meters before they kick.”