By RICK PETERSON
After running the Kanza Park cross country course a week earlier, Washburn Rural junior girls standout Payton Fink knew what to expect when she lined up for Saturday's Centennial League meet.
And what Fink expected was to take care of business from the outset, and she did exactly that, winning her second straight individual league title in a five-kilometer time of 17 minutes, 33.3 seconds as the Junior Blues repeated as team champs by a 39-52 margin over Manhattan.
"I decided to take off and just try to get a gap early at the beginning,'' Fink said. "My mile time wasn't as fast as last week, so that scared me a ittle, but it ended up being OK.''
Fink had finished second to Seaman's Ryin Miller in the city meet, but said that just having the experience of running the Kanza course was a benefit in Saturday's race.
"Last week I came out without having run here since my freshman year and on this courst you've got to know where the cuts are on the course and you've got to know to stay inside so it definitely helped coming back the second week and knowing where all of those were,'' Fink said.
As planned, Fink jumped out to an early lead and held it throughout, winning by a 31-second margin over Junction City senior Lorna Rae Pierce.
"I kind of just came out and decided that I was going to run best for me and just try and get a good time, not worry about anyone else and run my own race,'' Fink said.
Rural sophomore Emily Graf and junior Rylee Ismert backed Fink up front, with Graf finishing third in 18:28.7 and Ismert taking fourth in 18:39.7.
Junior Brooklyn Nolte added an eighth-place finish for the Junior Blues (19:28.9) while freshman Kate Muir rounded out Rural's top five, placing 24th (21:04.9).
"They ran great,'' Rural coach Matt Swedlund said. "Part of the benefit of being out here last week is they knew exactly where they were the whole time.
"They went out pretty quick on the front end and claimed it early.''
Hayden finished fifth in the girls team race with 117 points, led by freshman Sofia Harper, who placed 11th (20:01.7).
Topeka High, which had three individual competitiors, was led by freshman Juliahnna Savago, who finished 18th (20:10.8).
Junction City wins first boys title
Junction City put sixth runners in the top 12 places en route to earning its first Centennial League team championship by a slim 41-45 margin over Manhattan.
Manhattan senior Lucas Holdren rolled to the individual league title in a five-kilometer time of 15:12.9 while Emporia junior Daghyn True was second (15:51.6) and junior Ethan Fontaine led Juntion City with a third-place finish (16:01.4).
Washburn Rural finished third as a team with 68 points, led by sophomore Brooks Kehoe, who placed fourth (16:10.0).
Kehoe was one of two city runners to post top-10 boys finiishes, with Hayden senior Aiden Amis placing sixth (16:17.1) to lead Hayden to a fourth-place team finish with 110 points. Both Hayden and Emporia finished with 110 points, with Hayden finishing fourth on a tiebreaker.
Topeka High finished sixth in the team standings, led by junior Stuart Campbel with a 28th-place finish (17:49.8).
Topeka High and Washburn Rural will compete in a Class 6A regional meet next Saturday at the Cessna Activities Center in Wichita while Hayden will compete in a 3A regional at Sabetha Golf Course.
CENTENNIAL LEAGUE CROSS COUNTRY
At Kanza Park
Washburn Rural 39, Manhattan 52, Junction City 73, Emporia 78, Hayden 117.
1. Payton Fink, Washburn Rural, 17:33.3; 2. Lorna Rae Pierce, Junction City, 18:04.7; 3. Emily Graf, Washburn Rural, 18:28.7; 4. Rylee Ismert, Washburn Rural, 18:39.7; 5. Anna Fontaine, Junction City, Junction City, 18:47.8; 6. Hale Henningson, Manhattan, 19:08.7. Madison Evans, Emporia, 19:09.4; 8. Brooklyn Nolte, Washburn Rural, 19:28.9; 9. Rebekah Pickering, Manhattan, 19:38.1; 10. Caris Goering, Manhattan, 19:58.1.
Other Washburn Rural -- 24. Kate Muir, 21:04.9; 26. Kenzie Maddox, 21:35.9; 33. Lacey Middleton, 23:11.1.
Hayden -- 11. Sofia Harper, 19. Elliot Wrench, 20:11.9; 29. Keilyn Specht, 22:27.7; 30. Ryann Newkirk, 22:31.4; 32. Elaina Wolff, 22:58.7.
Topeka High -- 18. Juliahnna Savago, 20:10.8; 34. Victoria Reynaga, 23:19.7; 35. Cecelia Richards, 29:44.0.
Junction City 41, Manhattan 45, Washburn Rural 68, Hayden 110, Emporia 110, Topeka High 160.
1. Lucas Holdren, Manhattan, 15:12.9; 2. Daghyn True, Emporia, 15:51.6; 3. Ethan Fontaine, Junction City, 16:01.4; 4. Brooks Kehoe, Washburn Rural, 16:10.0; 5. Cooper Sturm, Manhattan, 16:10.0; 6. Aiden Amis, Hayden, 16:17.1; 7. Jack Spiegel, Manhattan, 16:20.6; 8. Ty Raulston, Junction City, 16:20.7; 9. Anthony Testa, Junction City, 16:25.0; 10. Everett Pickler, Junction City, 16:25.9.
Other Washburn Rural -- 13. Max Gutierrez, 16:39.9; 15. Connor Olsen, 16:45.5; 16. Bodie King, 16:47.5; 20. Hayden Keller, 17:00.9; 22. Higgins Hawks, 17:10.8; 26. Bordy Tenbrink, 17:33.5.
Other Hayden -- 19. Zach Moore, 16:52.3; 21. Connor Baldwin, 17:06.3; 29. Edgar Gomez, 17:51.2; 30. Palmer Heskett, 17:53.7; 34. Jonah Stewart, 18:19.9; 39. Brody Beckman, 19:03.6.
Topeka High -- 28. Stuart Campbell, 17:49.8; 31. Will Toland, 17:57.9; 32. Levi McGee, 17:57.8; 33. Caleb Brown, 18:18.0; 36. Malichi Delgado, 18:42.4; 38. Rigo Solis Carlos, 18:59.1; 40. Dominic Delgado, 19:41.1.