Sian Helfrich was the only PHS XC runner to qualify for State at Saturday's regional

Pratt High girls cross country runner Sian Helfrich continued her late-season surge Saturday at the McPherson regional. A week after taking the CKL individual crown, the freshman who began the year competing in JV events qualified for the State meet with a nice 4th place finish.

Running a time of 21:39, Helfrich punched her ticket to Wamego by hanging with the area's best 4A girl harriers on a tough course, McPherson's Rolling Hills Golf Club.

"Sian had a great race," acknowledged PHS head coach Kathy Hitz. "She put herself in that top 10 within the first half mile and persevered in the wind and on those hills. As the pack fell apart she kept herself in that group that was 2nd to 5th. She ran a smart race. It will be fun to see her experience the State course at Wamego."

 Pratt's other girl runner, Shawndra Bare had a respectable race, finishing in the pack 51st at 24:24.

It was a frustrating day for the Greenback boys. With teams in the field like defending State champion Hugoton, CKL kingpin Smoky Valley and traditionally strong Wamego, it was going to be a challenge for the Frogs to crack the top three teams- but not out of the question. At the least, it was hoped that a couple of PHS' top runners might qualify as individuals.

As it turned out, none of Pratt's boys are moving on. The Frogs finished 6th with 179 pts. The top three squads were Hugoton 36, Smoky Valley 93 and Wamego 133.

Nate Kolm was on the bubble of qualifying as an individual, but missed it by one slot- finishing 11th 18:05.

Pratt's other scorers were Raul Orozco 20th 18:29, Sergio Adame 31st 18:51, Cody James 52nd 19:32 and Riley Decker 73rd 20:19.

Displacers were Elijah Gatlin 79th 20:32 and Kaiser Pelland 83rd 20:47.

"It was a disappointing day for the boys," Coach Hitz admitted. "It happens. They went, competed, and did the best they could for the day. Hopefully it will make them hungry for next year."  Of PHS top 7, only Elijah Gatlin graduates this year, so the Greenbacks will return some experience next season.

For now, though, Sian Helfrich will make her first appearance at the 4A State meet in Wamego on Saturday.