One streak started and another ended for Manhattan High at the Centennial League cross country meet Saturday at Milford State Park in Junction City.
The boys’ team won its second consecutive league title, while Washburn Rural snapped the MHS girls’ team’s run of 11 straight titles.
The Manhattan boys cruised to their first-place finish with 32 points, which was 40 points better than the runner-up, Washburn Rural.
“I was really proud of them,” MHS head coach Susan Melgares said. “We kind of had a good idea of what the guys would be capable of if we got everybody rolling on all cylinders, and it feels like we saw that on (Saturday). Our front-runners seemed in control and maintained and finished fast.”
Senior Ben Mosier finished second to lead the way for the Indians with a time of 16:16.2, followed by senior Max Bowyer, who finished fourth (16:27.9), and freshman Landon Knopp, who finished fifth (16:40.8).
Sophomore Ethan Bryant placed eighth (16:52.1), junior Kolby Groff placed 13th (17:26.9), senior Parker Dawdy finished 18th (17:41.2) and sophomore Lucas Holdren ended in 24th (18:01.3).
Hayden’s Tanner Newkirk finished first overall with a time of 15:49.1.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan girls’ barely lost to the Junior Blues. Two points separated the Indians from first place, while they finished three points ahead of third-place Seaman.
Freshman Rebekah Pickering continued her standout freshman campaign, placing fourth overall with a time of 19:38.5. Freshman Malea Jobity finished seventh (20:00.9), followed by sophomore Haley Henningson, who placed 10th (20:06.2), senior Rachel Corn, who placed 14th (20:24.2), senior Morgan Turner, who finished 17th (20:33.1), freshman Jalissa Jobity, who placed 18th (20:33.3) and junior Amelia Knopp, who fought through an injury to finish 32nd (23::00.7).
“Amelia was dealing with an injury that kind of snuck up on us this week,” Melgares said. “But she still ran so tough through it, and the others really competed well. To run as well as they did when the top-three teams were within five points and we were without one of our front-runners, we felt like the kids really stepped up. You can’t ask for more than their best, and that’s what they gave us. They did not settle at all. They represented us well.”
Washburn Rural had the three fastest runners in the race, and Melgares hoped the Indians would be able to overcome that.
But the girls’ team extenuating circumstances prevented it.
Both Manhattan High junior varsity teams placed first, each turning in a near-perfect score.
The Indians will return to Milford State Park for their next event: a 6A regional meet on Oct. 23.
“We’re going to let off the mileage a little bit this week and try to stay relaxed,” Melgares said. “We just need to keep taking care of business. Survive and advance is the philosophy for this week.”