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Third-place Rural, top-five finishers lead All-Shawnee County girls XC


Fg0KkjpWQAMkW6DThe 2022 All-Shawnee County girls cross country team: Front row, from left -- Payton Fink, Washburn Rural; Bethany Druse, Seaman; Brooklyn Nolte, Washburn Rural; Stella Appelhanz, Seaman; Sydney Laster, Washburn Rural. Back row, from left -- coach Matt Swedlund, Washburn Rural; Madeline Carter, Washburn Rural; Ryin Miller, Seaman; Leah Spurlock, Seaman; Rylee Ismert, Washburn Rural; Vilde Tronstad, Washburn Rural; coach Rick Brading, Seaman. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Washburn Rural, which earned a third-place trophy in the Class 6A state meet, put six runners on the 2022 All-Shawnee County girls cross country team, which also includes a pair of top-five individual state finishers and five state medalists overall.

Rural, which won Topeka city and Centennial League team championships is represented on the all-county team by senior Madeline Carter, sophomore Payton Fink, sophomore Rylee Ismert, junior Sydney Laster, sophomore Brooklyn Nolte and senior Vilde Tronstad.

Regional team champion Seaman put sophomore Stella Appelhanz, senior Bethany Druse, freshman Ryin Miller and senior Leah Spurlock on the all-county team as the Vikings combined with the Junior Blues to earn 10 of 11 first-team berths.

Rural's Fink posted a fifth-place indiviual finish in 6A while Miller placed fifth in 5A and Druse, Appelhanz and Carter also earned state medals.

TessaGerberaction3Silver Lake's Tessa Gerber earned a berth on the All-Shawnee County girls cross country team after a strong sophomore season, including a 21st finish in the Class 3A state meet. [Twitter photo/Silver Lake Schools]

Silver Lake sophomore Tessa Gerber earned the final spot on the All-Shawnee County first team, turning in a strong performance in the 3A state meet and missing a state medal by just one place in a peronal-record time.

Rural coach Matt Swedlund and Seaman coach Rick Brading were named the girls Shawnee County co-coaches of the year for 2022.

All-Shawnee County girls capsules:

STELLA APPELHANZ, Seaman -- Appelhanz is a two-time All-Shawnee County selection as a sophomore. Appelhanz turned in a very consistent second half of the 2022 season, placing in the top 10 in the Seaman Invitational as well as the city, United Kansas Conference and Class 5A regional meets. Appelhanz placed 20th in the 5A state meet, earning All-State honors. Appelhanz's personal-best time five-kilometer time is 19:51.

MADELINE CARTER, Washburn Rural -- After battling a nagging injury early in the season, Carter, a senior, bounced back and was a big factor in Rural's late-season success. Carter didn't race until the fourth week of the season at the Rim Rock Invitational, contributing to Rural's second-place finish. Carter, who plans to run at Kansas, placed fourth in the Topeka city meet, second in the Centennial League and regional meets and capper her season with an All-State performance, finishing 11th and helping Rural finish third as a team.

BETHANY DRUSE, Seaman -- A senior, Druse was Seaman's No. 2 runner in all meets this fall and was a strong team leader for a young Viking team. Bethany was fifth in the city meet, third in the the United Kansas Conference, third in Class 5A regional competition and 14th in the 5A state meet.  Bethany is a three-time 5A All-State runner and has also been All-City/County four straight years. The reigning 800 meters champ in track, Druse's personal best time is 18:48.  Bethany will run at Kansas next year.

PAYTON FINK, Washburn Rural -- Following her outstanding freshman debut, Fink continued to make a name for herself in her sophomore season. Never finishing worse than seventh place, Fink was the individual champion in the Topeka city, Centennial League and Class 6A regional meets. Fink earned All State honors with her fifth-place finish at the state meet, leading the Junior Blues to a third-place podium team finish in 6A.

TESSA GERBER, Silver Lake -- A sophomore, Gerber earner her first-team spot on the All-Shawnee County first team on the strengh of a strong performance in the Class 3A state meet at Rim Rock Farm. Gerber posted a 21st-place finish in the state meet in a personal-record time of 20:46.81, missing a state medal by just one place. Gerber earned her place in the state meet with a seventh-place individual finish in 3A regional competition and also placed seventh in the Mid-East League meet and won an individual title at Hiawatha.

RYLEE ISMERT, Washburn Rural -- After a freshman season hampered by health issues, Ismert was healthy and strong for her sophomore season. Ismert's consistency helped Rural secure its fourth straight Topeka city title, its second straight Centennial League championship and its first podium finish (top three) in 25 years. Ismert finished third individually in the city and Centennial League meets, earning All-City and all-league honors.

SYDNEY LASTER, Washburn Rural -- Laster, a junior three-time all-city/county honoree, was a huge factor in Washburn Rural's podium team finish in the Class 6A state meet. Laster passed an Olathe North runner down the stretch and beat her by less than a second to secure the Junior Blues' third place finish by one point. Laster placed seventh in the city meet where she ran a season best time of 19:54.

RYIN MILLER, Seaman -- From the beginning to the end of her freshman season, Miller was the Lady Vikings' No. 1 runner. Miller's competitive nature was undeniable as she was a top-three finisher in six of her races. Miller placed second in the city, United Kansas Conference and Class 5A regional championships. Miller was the first freshman across the finish line at the state meet, placing fifth overall. Miller's best time was 18 minutes, 36 seconds, setting a new Seaman five-kilometer record.

BROOKLYN NOLTE, Washburn Rural -- A sophomore, Nolte was an important part of Washburn Rural's girls team all season. After a dedicated offseason, Nolte ran with a purpose all fall, finishing 10th in the city meet and eighth in the Centennial League. Nolte helped the Junior Blues qualify for state at regionals and was Rural's fourth runner en route to a third-place podium team finish in the Class 6A state championships.

LEAH SPURLOCK, Seaman -- Spurlock was a solid No. 4 runner for the Vikings and came on strong in her senior season, improving 30 seconds over personal record in the 2021 season. Spurlock posted four top-10 finishes in a row in the Seaman Invitational, city, United Kansas Conference and Class 5A regional meets. Spurlock's personal-best time is 20:06 and she helped Seaman win a regional team championship and post a fourth-place team finish at state.

VILDE TRONSTAD, Washburn Rural -- Tronstad, "V'' as her American teammates call her, was a pleasant surprise for the Washburn Rural girls team as a foreign exchange student from Norway. Tronstad had never run competitively in Norway, playing handball, but decided to give cross country a try. Tronstad finished in the top 15 individually in the city, Centennial League and regional meets and was a scoring runner for Rural in its third-place team finish at state. 

ALL-SHAWNEE COUNTY GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

First team

Name, school                                    Class

Stella Appelhanz, Seaman                  So

Madeline Carter, Washburn Rural       Sr.

Payton Fink, Washburn  Rural            So.

Bethany Druse, Seamann                   Sr.

Tessa Gerber, Silver Lake                   So.

Rylee Ismert, Washburn Rural            Sr.

Sydney Laster, Washburn Rural          Jr.

Ryin Miller, Seaman                             Fr.

Brooklyn Nolte, Washburn Rural         So

Leah Spurlock, Seaman                      Sr.

Vilde Tronstad, Washburn Rural         Sr.

Honorable mention

Hayden: Elliot Wrench. Rossville: Amelia Foster. Seaman: Anna Becker, Savannah Sampson. Shawnee Heights: Verena Trollman. Silver Lake: Mariah Farmer. Topeka West: Payton Rice.

Co-coaches of the year -- Rick Brading, Seaman, and Matt Swedlund, Washburn Rural.