Crosscountry is one of those sports that usually only has one home event per season, unless a school happens to be hosting a post-season meet.
For that reason, runners like to put their best feet forward when getting to run in front of the home folks.
The Pratt High School crosscountry team did just that on Thursday as the girls won the 12 school meet and the boys finished 3rd.
Kaylah Romine added to her gold medal collection by completing the course in 16:00 flat. That was Romine’s 4th individual victory of the campaign.
Romine battled with Larned’s Delainee Gordon for the lead much of the race, but in the last mile, Romine extended her lead. When the pair emerged from Lemon Park for the home stretch in 6th Street Park, Romine had established a gap that Gordon (2nd 16:12) was unable to close.
Joining Romine in the top 10 were Ruth Anthony (5th 16:57) and Nichole Moreland (9th 17:37.)
Cassidy Cronister also medaled, coming in 14th (18:47.)
The Greenbacks’ other usual varsity runner, Carly Reid, was sidelined recovering from dental surgery. In order to qualify as a full team (5 runners), head coach Kathy Hitz had to promote one of her JV runners.
Freshman Katie Buhler got the call. “We kind of threw Katie to the wolves,” Hitz said. “Asking her to run a varsity meet on her tender shins.”
“Katie has been training on a bike ever since the Hoisington meet,” Hitz continued, “but we needed her, and she came through.”
Buhler was able to complete the course (33rd 23:00) well enough to allow Pratt to qualify as a full squad and capture the team title.
On the boys side, the Frogs scored 72 points to finish 3rd behind Chaparral (54) and Stafford (60.)
Brendan Pribil came on like gangbusters in the last mile to grab the bronze medal (18:20) behind winner Henry Penner of Macksville.
Joseph Loomis was the other Greenback to finish with a medal (15th 19:23.)
Josh Powell (28th 20:57) and Cooper Crump (29th 20:58) finished neck and neck. The final scorer was Caleb Hitz (34th 21:09).
Pratt’s pushers were Hayden May (36th 21:14) and Chance Reh (39th 21:43.)
Coach Hitz was pleased with her runners’ performances.
“Of course Kaylah (Romine) continues to excel,” she mentioned. “We’ve come to expect that out of her now, she’s been doing so well so consistently all season. And Brendan (Pribil) picked up 5 or 6 places down the stretch to take third. That was really good, too.
“All our kids competed well,” she continued. “We had some season bests and some PRs today. Like, Hayden May had a big PR. And it’s always nice to win your home meet, so that was great for the girls. Our boys had one of their better team finishes this season as they continue to improve. We don’t have any seniors on the squad so we should be even better next year.”
Page 2 of 2 - JVs were also in action Thursday. With Buhler being drafted for the varsity, Brittany Whitson was the only Pratt girl running JV. She took 10th in 26:00.
JV boys included Zach Claussen (7th 21:16), Will Fellhoelter (12th 21:48), Zach Will (13th 21:51) and Dakota Venard (16th 23:46.)
The PHS harriers finish the regular season next Thursday at Sterling.