Chappel, Hoff pace boys XC to runner-up WAC finish

CROSS COUNTRY: Friday, Oct. 16, 2020

It wasn’t the final standings both team and individual that Garden City High School cross country coach Krista Linenberger had hoped for, but the Buffs’ mentor was still pleased with the effort put forth by both teams at Thursday’s Western Athletic Conference championship.

Running at Liberal’s Yucca Ridge Golf Course layout, the Buffs’ boys took second in the team chase with 50 points, while Dodge City captured the title with 40 points. Great Bend was third with 63. The boys were the defending league champs.

In the girls division, the Lady Buffs finished the race without their second best runner, Andrea Hernandez, who had to withdraw during the race due to a nagging injury. That put the Buffs into a bind and they could manage only a fifth-place finish with 115 points. Dodge City won a tight battle with Great Bend for team honors, finishing with 39 points to Great Bend’s 41.

The Buffs’ top two boys runners all season were once again at the head of the pack for Linenberger as Devin Chappel and Brody Hoff captured second and third place finishes individually. Chappel clocked a 5-kilometer (3.11 miles) time of 16:14.28 to finish 20 seconds behind winner Kaiden Esfeld of Great Bend (15:54.10). Hoff was about a half-minute back of Chappel, finishing in 16:41.46. Kenji Craig had a 10th place finish in 17:25.90 while Evan Gurrola (17:45.28) and Isaiah Casados (18:14.66) placed 13th and 22nd, respectively, to finish out the team scores. Non-counting finishes were 27th by Joel Contreras (18:49.51) and 31st by Hayden Bailey (19:09.56).

Sophomore Jocelyn Sosa, who placed second in the WAC meet a year ago, managed an 8th place finish to pace the Lady Buffs. The girls ran a 4-kilometer layout (2.39 miles). Sosa’s time of 16:07.34 was just more than a half-minute behind the winning time of 15:35.83 by Dodge City’s Serenity Larson.

Other finishers for the Lady Buffs were Samantha Orozco (28th, 18:03.87), Selah Hageman (29th, 18:09.13), Abigail Aguilar (35th, 18:46.43), Lana Rodriguez (36th, 19:01.45) and Jocelyn Monarrez (37th, 19:03.12).

“We fell a little short in both teams’ aspirations for team standings, but we actually ran pretty well coming off a Saturday meet and still trying to work towards a state appearance through practices,” Linenberger said. “We finally ran with a full boys team, but not all are back 100 percent and that was apparent.”

The Buffs will have all next week to prepare and rest up for the Class 6A regional, which is scheduled for Oct. 24 at the Cessna Activities Center in Wichita. The top 3 teams qualify for the state the following Saturday at Augusta.

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