By RICK PETERSON
Seaman sophomore girls cross country star Ryin Miller ran alone for virtually all of Thursday's United Kanas Conference meet at the Shawnee North Community Center.
And that suited Miller, who added the UKC championship on the heels of last Saturday's city title, just fine.
Even though Miller had zero competition up front, winning by 1 minute and 43 seconds, she pushed herself to an outstanding five-kilometer time of 17 minutes, 54.7 seconds while De Soto junior Addison Gillespie finished second in 19:37.8.
"Honestly, I feel like I maybe do better alone,'' Miller said. "I feel like running with other people, it's pressure and it makes me nervous, but alone I just feel better I guess.''
Miller claimed her first UKC title on Thursday after finishing second to former Piper star Grace Hanson as a freshman.
Thursday's win continued what has been an outstanding sophomore year for Miller, who placed fifth in Class 5A in the 2022 state meet.
"I was nervous (coming into the season) because I didn't think I was going to be able to back up my freshman year but after our time trial I was like, 'OK, I'm better this year,' '' Miller said. "I know I worked hard over the summer and last year I only won one race because of Grace Hanson but this year I was like, 'She's done, she graduated,' so I wanted to capitalize on that and hopefully win more.''
Junior Stella Appelhanz placed third for Seaman (19:55.6) while freshman Brynn Spencer also posted a top-five finish, taking fifth (20:04.7).
Senior Savannah Sampson finished finished 12th (20:58.5) and freshman Alex Richardson 20th (21:51.1) to round out Seaman's top five.
De Soto put four runners in the top eight and all of its top five in the first 13 places to edge Seaman by a 34-39 margin for the UKC team title after the Wildcats had finished second to the Vikings by four points in the 2022 meet.
Shawnee Heights finished sixth in the UKC, with junior Elizabeth Hogan leading the T-Birds with a 42nd-place individual finish (24:17.5).
Sophomore Payton Rice led Topeka West with a 24th-place finish (22:04.3).
UNITED KANSAS CONFERENCE GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
At Shawnee North Community Center
De Soto 35, Seaman 39, Basehor-Linwood, 61, Lansing 92, Leavenworth 155, Shawnee Heights 176.
1. Ryin Miller, Seaman, 17:54.7; 2. Addison Gillespie, De Soto, 19:37.8; 3. Stella Appelhanz, Seaman, 19:55.6; 4. Brooke Bundt, De Soto, 19:59.0; 5. Brynn Spencer, Seaman, 20:04.7; 6. Henley Erickson, Basehor-Linwood, 20:05.6; 7. Hope Marriott, De Soto, 20:29.5; 8. Taya Swarts, De Soto, 20:33.5; 9. Grace Steger, Lansing, 20:40.3; 10. Hanna McKnight, Basehor-Linwood, 20:52.8.
Other Seaman -- 12. Savannah Sampson, 20:58.5; 20. Alex Richardson, 21:51.1; 22. Elinor Stallbaumer, 21:54.4; 23. Hannah Wempe, 22;04. 31. Kinley Robinson, 22:49.8.
Shawnee Heights -- 42. Elizabeth Hogan, 23:17.5; 46. Abigail Lewis, 24:10.2; 48. Addison Cooper, 24:59.2; 52. Mia Mattox, 25:27.5; 54. Mckenna Haltom, 26:36.7; 55. Adelaide Davis, 26:58.8; 57. Allison Frieson, 27:29.8.
Topeka West -- 24. Payton Rice, 22:04.3; 26. Chloe Phelps, 22:14.2; 40. Jordyn McKinzie, 23:15.2; 58. Zion Phelps-Roper, 30:14.7.