Returning to the Wamego Country Club course Saturday where he won the Class 4A cross country title in 2020, Hayden star Tanner Newkirk was just as impressive.
In fact, the Wildcat senior was even better than he was in his state-winning run.
Newkirk clocked a winning 5-kilometer time of 15 minutes, 47.50 seconds on Saturday to top a field of 114 competitors in the Wamego Invitational while paring nearly six seconds off the 15:53.32 time that he recorded in the 4A state meet last fall.
Newkirk won Saturday by 14 seconds over Buhler senior star Tanner Lindahl.
Newkirk keyed a strong performance by the Wildcats as a team, with Hayden finishing fifth among 15 schools.
Senior Ryan Rochford posted a 21st-place finish (17:41.60) while sophomore Aiden Amis was 27th (17:58.90) and junior Jake Muller 28th (18:01.20) for the Wildcats.
Freshman Elliot Wrench turned in an outstanding performance for the Hayden girls, placing 13th out of 106 runners in 21:38.60.
CARTER PACES JUNIOR BLUES
Washburn Rural junior Madeline Carter finished ninth among 163 girls entries in Saturday night's Olathe Twilight Invitational, leading the Junior Blues to a third-place team finish out of 22 teams.
Carter clocked a time of 18:21.60, while senior Khloi Bird and freshman Payton Fink also posted top-25 finishes, with Bird taking 21st (19:02.20) and Fink 24th (19:14.00).
Sophomore Hayden Keller took 63rd out of 178 competitors in a time of 16:53.80 to pace the Washburn Rural boys.
EAGLES' GERBER EIGHTH AT WAMEGO
Silver Lake freshman Tessa Gerber posted an eighth-place finish in the 3A-1A girls division in Saturday's Wamego Invitational, while Eagle junior Mason Brokaw finished 12th in the boys race.
Gerber clocked a five-kilometer time of 21:41.00 while Brokaw ran a 18:55.20. Silver Lake freshman Aemon Coffman took 29th in the boys race (19:37.20).
Rossville junior Amelia Foster placed 25th in 23:31.50 in the girls race while the Bulldawgs got 31st and 33rd-place finishes from junior Colby Hurla (19:40.10) and senior Sam Twombly (19:46.60).