By RICK PETERSON
Washburn Rural, which swept city, Centennial League and Class 6A regional championships, put four runners on the 2023 All-Shawnee County girls cross country team, which includes top-three state finishers Payton Fink of Rural and Seaman's Ryin Miller and four state medalists overall.
Fink, a junior, was the 6A individual runnerup after winning Centennial League and regional titles and is joined on the all-county team by Rural state medalists Rylee Ismert and Emily Graf and first-team repeat pick Brooklyn Nolte.
Rural coach Matt Swedlund was named the girls Shawnee County coach of the year for 2023.
Miller, a sophomore, finished third in the 5A state meet after sweeping city, United Kansas Conference and 5A regional titles and is joined on the all-county first team by fellow Seaman all-county repeat pick Stella Appelhanz, senior Savannah Sampson and freshman standout Brynn Spencer.
Also earning All-Shawnee County first-team recognition are Hayden state qualifiers Elliot Wrench and Sofia Harper, Topeka West two-time state qualifier Payton Rice and Topeka High freshman standout Juliahnna Savago.
All-Shawnee County girls capsules:
STELLA APPELHANZ, Seaman -- A junior, Appelhanz is a three-time All-Shawnee County selection. Appelhanz placed seventh in the city meet, posted a third-place finish in the United Kansas Conference meet and was 13th in Class 5A regional competition. Appelhanz placed 36th in the 5A state meet and had a personal-best time five-kilometer time is 19:37.
PAYTON FINK, Washburn Rural -- Fink posted top-two individual finishes in all four of the championship meet as a junior. Fink was the individual champion in the Centennial League and Class 6A regional meets and was the runnerup in the city and 6A state meets. Fink earned her third straight state medal and had a personal-best time of 17:33. Fink led Rural to city, league and regional team titles and a fourth-place finish at state.
EMILY GRAF, Washburn Rural -- Graf, a sophomore, posted third-place individual finishes in the city and Centennial League meets and was fifth in the Class 6A regional meet as Washburn Rural won team championships in all three of those meets. Graf earned a 6A state medal with a 19th-place finish as Rural took fourth as a team. Graf posted a season-best time of 18:28.
SOFIA HARPER, Hayden -- A freshman, Harper posted a season-best five-kilometer time of 20:01. Harper earned a ninth-place finish in the city meet, posted a second-place finish in Class 3A regional competition as Hayden qualified for state as a team and finished 32nd at the 3A state meet. Harper medaled in four meets this fall and holds Hayden's five-kilometer school record.
RYLEE ISMERT, Washburn Rural -- Ismert, a junior, is a repeat pick on the All-Shawnee County team after helping Washburn Rural sweep the team titles in the city, Centennial League and Class 6A regional meets. Ismert finished fourth individually in the city and Centennial League meets and was sixth ar regionals and a 16th-place medalist at state. Ismert had a best time of 18:39..
RYIN MILLER, Seaman -- A sophomore, Miller swept city, United Kansas Conference and Class 5A regional individual championships before posting a third-place finish at state. Miller also won titles in the Joe Schrag Invitational, Seaman Invitational and Rim Rock Classic Crimson division. A two-time state placer, Miller broke the Seaman school record at city with a time of 17:24, which is also the Kanza course record
BROOKLYN NOLTE, Washburn Rural -- A junior, Nolte is a repeat first-team pick on the All-Shawnee County team. Nolte finished sixth in the city meet, eighth in the Centennial League and ninth in Class 6A regional competition as the Junior Blues swept team titles in all three meets. Nolte was 41st at state for fourth-place Rural and had a personal-best time of 19:28.
PAYTON RICE, Topeka West -- A sophomore, Rice was Topeka West's top girls runner this fall, posting a best five-kilometer time of 20:36. Rice came back from a midseason injury to finish 12th in the city meet and 10th in Class 5A regional competition to qualify for her second straight berth in the state meet. Rice ran her best time on the Rim Rock course, clocking a 21:05.
SAVANNAH SAMPSON, Seaman -- Sampson, a senior, helped Seaman qualify as a team for the Class 5A state meet with the Vikings finishing third at regionals. Sampson posted an 11th-place finish in the city meet with a season-best five-kilometer time of 20:35. Sampson placed 12th in the United Kansas Conference championships, 17th at regionals and 56th at state.
JULIAHNNA SAVAGO, Topeka High -- Savago earned a first-team All-Shawnee County berth as a freshman after a strong season for the Trojans. Savago recorded a personal-best
five-kilometer time of 20:10. Savago posted a 10th-place finish in the city championships, placed 18th in the Centennial League and 21st in Class 6A regional competition.
BRYNN SPENCER, Seaman -- Spencer was a top runner for Seaman as a freshman, posting a season-best five-kilometer time of 19:22. Spencer was fifth in the city meet, fifth in the United Kansas Conference meet and seventh at regionals as Seaman earned a team berth for state with a third-place finish. Spencer placed 32nd at state and was the fourth freshman acoss the line.
ELLIOT WRENCH, Hayden -- A junior, Wrench posted a personal-record five-kilometer time of 20:06 this fall. Wrench placed eighth in the city meet, 19th in the Centennial League and fifth in Class 3A regional competition as Hayden earned a team berth for state. Wrench posted a 30th-place finish in the 3A state meet and medaled in five meets on the season.
ALL-SHAWNEE COUNTY GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Name, school Class
Stella Appelhanz, Seaman Jr.
Payton Fink, Washburn Rural Jr.
Emily Graf, Washburn Rural So.
Sofia Harper, Hayden Fr.
Rylee Ismert, Washburn Rural Jr.
Ryin Miller, Seaman So..
Brooklyn Nolte, Washburn Rural Jr
Payton Rice, Topeka West So.
Juliahnna Savago, Topeka High Fr.
Savannah Sampson, Seaman Sr.
Brynn Spencer, Seaman Fr.
Elliot Wrench, Hayden Jr.
Hayden: Elaina Wolff, sr. Seaman: Elinore Stallbaumer, sr. Silver Lake: Alessandra Gerber, fr.; Tessa Gerber, jr. Topeka High: Victoria Reynaga, fr. Washburn Rural: Kenzie Maddox, so.
Coach of the year -- Matt Swedlund, Washburn Rural.