Calvary individuals earn medals in Class 1 cross country championships

Calvary Lutheran's Mikayla Yutzy runs during the Class 1 girls cross country state championships Friday at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia. (Kyle McAreavy/News Tribune)
Calvary Lutheran's Mikayla Yutzy runs during the Class 1 girls cross country state championships Friday at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia. (Kyle McAreavy/News Tribune)

COLUMBIA -- Calvary Lutheran is bringing home two more state medals.

One Lion and one Lady Lion reached the podium Friday in the Class 2 and Class 1 state cross country races at Gans Creek Course in Columbia.

“It’s good to see everyone have a great, strong day,” Calvary coach Kerri Morris said. “Sometimes nerves can get the best of you, but I think their maturity and the fact that they’ve been here before probably helped them. Just a great, solid finish to the season.”

First up for Calvary were the Lady Lions competing as a team after taking second in their district race.

Sonya Brunner earned her second all-state cross country medal with a time of 21:29.4 for 20th. Brunner also placed seventh with a time of 21:06.8 in last year’s state meet.

“My team is always there to help me, it was fun to get back on the podium again,” Brunner said. “… I got a stitch half way through, that was like, ‘Ow,’ but I picked up halfway through like I wanted to, I was happy with that. … I couldn’t wait to get back in my jacket (down the home stretch), it was windy out there.”

“She toughed it out,” Morris said. “I’m thrilled for her that she got in those medals because I know she was not feeling good. She’s a champion and just breathed through it. … She’s a quiet kid, she doesn’t complain. So she wasn’t going to say anything. She just stuck with it and did a good job hanging in those medals.”

Next across the line for the Lady Lions was Maddy Sprengel, who ran a time of 22:37.2 for 37th overall.

“Maddy ran a great time, I know she would have loved to get in those medals, but it was fast this year,” Morris said. “It was just fast.”

Alayna Sprengel was third for Calvary, earning 86th place with a time of 24:13.4, while Mahaila Brunner took 113th in 25:11.5 and Mikayla Yutzy placed 115th in 25:20.7.

“My three, four, five and six girls all brought down their times,” Morris said. “That’s what you want to see at state. They were excited, they wanted to be here and they came out competitive.”

The five combined for a total of 205 points, placing the Lady Lions ninth overall.

Chadwick won the team championship with 60 points, Liberal took second at 98, East Carter finished third at 112 and Paris placed fourth with 130.

“Last week was the pressure to make sure we got out,” Morris said. “I just kept telling them, this week was a bonus.”

Sydney Morris was the final Lady Lion across the finish line with a time of 26:37.8 for 131st.

“The team came in super strong, that was a personal best for everyone this year except for Sonya and she has an ear infection,” Kerri Morris said. “… I think we were predicted to come in 12th and we got ninth, I said a top-10 finish was what we were hoping for. Just really proud of them.”

Platte Valley’s Mya Wray took first as an individual, running a time of 19:11.9, while Soutland’s Mallory Shaw was runner up at 20:15.3. Liberal’s Ally Barton took third at 20:17.5, Norah Watkins of Rock Port was fourth with a time of 20:27.1 and Chadwick’s Emily Landry finished fifth at 20:30.2.

The lone Lion competing in the Class 2 boys race earned his fourth state medal in four tries.

Jaxson Jobe returned to the state meet for the fourth consecutive year and finished seventh with a time of 17:09.9 to earn his third individual medal to go with his 2020 Lions’ team championship medal. Jobe placed 31st in 2020 to help the Lions take home team gold, placed 23rd in 2021 with a time of 17:13 and 15th last year at 17:24.8.

“The accolade isn’t me, all my strength comes from God, the coaches working through me, this was just the response to the effort put in,” Jobe said. “… I definitely ran the first 2K like I planned, I hit the third (kilometer)  expecting a second wind that didn’t really come. But sometimes that happens and you just have to push through and figure it out. I tried to make up for it the last 400 meters or so. … Just kept thinking, ‘More guys, gotta get more guys, get faster, get more guys.’”

“That’s his fastest time here at state, his best finish here, he’s got these high expectations so he’s always wanting more, but I think he ran a smart race,” Morris said. “That was a fast day for the boys, he stayed in that pack and pushed toward the end. Phenomenal, how many kids have that many state medals? He’s really helped build this program.”

Woodland’s Reed Layton took first as an individual with a time of 16:25.2, Butler’s Brandon Hammett was second at 16:36.7, Mansfield’s Nolyn Corder finished third with a time of 16:42.7, Woodland’s Calvin Layton was fourth at 16:43.5 and Lutheran: Kansas City’s David Reimer took fifth with a time of 16:55.5.

Woodland was the top team with a total of 96 points, while Lutheran: Kansas City was second at 137, New Covenant Academy was third at 168 and North Platte finished fourth at 175.