It was a bitter disappointment for the Pratt High School girls cross-country team as they fell one point short of reaching State as a team at Saturday’s 4A regional in McPherson. The boys team finished in the middle of the pack at 9th (16 schools are assigned to each regional.)
On a positive note, two Lady Greenbacks punched their tickets for Wamego as individuals. Freshman phenom Halle Helfrich took the individual regional title at 15:49. Senior Adele Loomis also had a top 10 finish, 9th 16:52.
Other finishers for the Pratt girls included 34 Cassidy Cronister 18:08; 56 Kara Nixon 19:05; 57 Morgan Strong 19:08; 61 Tori Hassler 19:21.
One other Lady Greenback was unable to complete the race, which might have made the difference in the team qualifying.
Clay Center captured the girls team title with 46. Hugoton was 2nd with 116. Buhler was able to slip into 3rd with 139, edging out Pratt who ended up with 140.
The highest finisher for the boys—in the continued absence of leading runner Joseph Loomis due to injury— was Brendan Pribil, 31st in 19:00. Zach Will was 47th in 19:35.
Other finishers for PHS: 53 Brody Cronister 19:53; 61 Chance Reh 20:20; 65 Will Fellhoelter 20:30; 80 Cooper Crump 21:10; 89 Caleb Hitz 21:28.
Boys team scores included 1. Hugoton 69 2. Goodland 77 3. Clay Center 93 9. Pratt 257.
After a stellar season by the girls team, which included a CKL championship to go along with several Invitational titles throughout the year, it was a tough pill to swallow for the team to be denied a trip to State.
“I feel so sad and disappointed for the girls,” PHS head coach Kathy Hitz acknowledged, regarding her team’s abrupt and unexpected ouster from State contention. “It is one of the most painful experiences I have had as a coach. Part of that is because this team has been so enjoyable for me. Both the boys and girls teams have been an absolute pleasure to coach.”
Even though the entire team will not be competing at Wamego this year, Halle Helfrich and Adele Loomis will represent the Frogs of Distance, and will be racing to get on the 4A medal stand next Saturday.