It was the boys’ turn to shine this year. After a series of several seasons featuring the Lady Thunderbird crosscountry squad excelling while the boys did not field a full varsity team, it was the boys’ team that enjoyed the most success this year.
Led all year by sophomore Roman Ibarra, the Thunderbirds captured team titles twice—at their own Invitational and at the HOPL meet. They finished 2nd in three other meets. They finished a very competitive 4th in a very stacked regional. The teams who went from the regional attended by Skyline all finished in the top 5 at State, suggesting that the T-Birds likely would have qualified for State had they been assigned to any other regional, and finished at least in the middle of the pack.
Roman Ibarra pocketed gold medals twice, at TMP and Larned. He also added three top-5 finishes and a pair of top-10 finishes to his resume. He finished off the season medaling at State as an individual.
Ibarra’s frosh brother Tony was a good addition to the squad this year, often finishing as Skyline’s second runner. Lucas Cason ran varsity this year after a JV campaign last year, and may have seen the most improvement among the T-Bird harriers throughout the year. Colin Kumberg and Khaleb Cason were solid contributors as well.
A variety of runners were used at the pusher spots during the year by coach Lynette Freeman, including Jared Shriver and Joshua Moore. “Almost everyone will be back next year,” Freeman mentioned. “There will be quite a bit of competition for spots as the younger kids mature and gain experience. That will be good for the team.”
The girls’ squad was rebuilding this season after losing most of the previous season’s State-qualifying team to graduation. The team was led again by senior Brooke Fisher who ended her outstanding career with an individual appearance at State, where she finished just out of the medals. Brooke won a gold medal at the Larned meet, and she was HOPL champ as well. She also had top-10 finishes in each of her other regular season races.
Ascha Lee, Kadi Richardson, Miranda Ghumm, Madalyn Owens and Briana Neifert rounded out the Lady Thunderbird roster. The high point for the girls’ team was probably defending their HOPL team title even though most of the roster was new to varsity running.
In conclusion, the boys team had a breakout year and the girls enjoyed some success although rebuilding. With some middle school runners advancing to the high school ranks in coming years, the future looks bright for T-Bird crosscountry.