They did it again.
The girls on Douglass' cross country team had lofty expectations. It might have been hard to believe the Bulldogs could repeat their dominance from last year, especially with some younger runners on the team.
But Douglass won anyway. The Bulldogs finished with 76 team points, 18 ahead of second-place Norton Community, to win the Class 3A cross country state championship.
“They all ran really well,” coach Leland Shaffer said. “It's been really tough this year, but they fought through it and competed well.”
This is the second straight cross country title the Bulldogs have won.
Freshman Klair Gibson led the Bulldogs with a time of 15 minutes, 52.50 seconds (a personal record) at the ever-tough Rim Rock Farm course in Lawrence. Gibson took fourth place overall, and was second among attached runners. The top two runners—Hiawatha's Jordan Puvogel (15:30.60) and Hillsboro's Emily Sechrist (15:35.10)—ran unattached.
Douglass sophomore Suzie Wright continues the success she and her sisters have had in recent years in cross country. Wright finished sixth overall (fourth of attached runners) with a time of 15:59.20. Senior Sarah Wright took 17th place with a time of 16:35.50 (Ninth attached).
Mackenzie McBeth just cracked the top 20 with a time of 16:42.80, good for 20th (12th attached).
Freshman Hailey Titus finished the race with a time of 18:14.90 (68th overall, 46th attached).
The Bulldogs were able to win the title despite having a rough season hampered by injuries. Some of the girls even ran with injuries, and still competed well.
“It shows a lot of heart and determination,” Shaffer said. “...They take a lot of pride in what they do.”
Sacred Heart took third place in the team standings (121 points).
Another area runner at State was Bluestem junior Brenda McCollum, who took 9th overall with a time of 16:01.40.