McPherson High cross country coach Gentry Nixon isn't concerned as much about team placings as she is individual improvement.
While her Bullpup teams didn't threaten for team titles during Thursday's McPherson Invitational at rugged Rolling Acres, she saw a lot from her young runners that gives her encouragement going into the second half of the season.
"I think we had a good day," Nixon said. "We're still battling some injuries, but the kids ran with a lot of heart today. And they worked together. We had a lot of packs in there. They pushed and pull each other."
Nixon said running at Rolling Acres will help the team down the road.
"I think one, it gives us a (sense) of where we're going to be toward the end," she said. "It prepares us a little more for the end. And for the kids, if they do anywhere close to a PR (personal record) on this course, it's a huge mental boost for them."
In the boys' race, El Dorado's Tim Kemboi and Hutchinson's Alec Perrone were practically side by side at the finish line, with the sophomore Kemboi winning, 17:43.97 to 17:44.03 for Perrone.
MHS' top finisher was Wyatt Hedlund, who was 19th in 19:22.63. The Top 15 medaled.
Hutchinson won the team event with 46 points, followed by Hays (55). Other totals were El Dorado (101), Maize South (107), Salina South (167), Maize (169), MHS (177) and Salina Central (253).
The Bullpup girls had a medalist in Michelle Carrillo, who was 12th in 178:17.38. El Dorado's Jolie Howland, only a sophomore, was a runaway winner in 16:39.38.
Buhler won the team title with 42 points. Other complete teams were Hays (56), Maize (81), El Dorado (89), MHS (92) and Salina South (139).
The MHS JV girls had a nice trio of performances, a 9th from Chelsea Regehr, 10th from Christal Regehr and 14th from McKenzie Benson, all medaling performances.
• MHS Results •
• Varsity Boys •
19. Wyatt Hedlund, 19:22.63. 34. Tyler Timson, 20:16.79. 39. Kalib Martin, 20:38.98. 42. Paxton Leaf, 20:56.24. 43. Chris Kirchner, 20:56.47. 46. Dalyn Chapman, 21:07.90. 53. Tate Johnson, 21:38.45.
• Varsity Girls •
12. Michelle Carrillo, 18:17.38. 20. Christina Wankum, 18:51.46. 22. Katie Wurm, 19:15.80. 29. Lindsey Moore, 19:40.44. 30. Olivia Hansen, 19:42.44. 37. Mackenzie Becker, 20:06.43. 38. Ciara Beasley, 20:10.54
• JV Boys •
14. Cody LeClaire, 21:28.7. 45. Carson Stone, 24:17.88. 50. Alex Dittrick, 24:44.22. 53. Christian Ramirez Amaril, 25:02.32. 75. Jimmy Fortner, 29:36.28.
• JV Girls •
9. Chelsea Regehr, 21:01.08. 10. Christal Regehr, 21:09.72. 14. McKenzie Benson, 21:46.57. 26. Abby Hughes, 23:55.73. 36. Monet Kunde, 26:08.27. 37. Kimiko Bullis, 26:24.37. 38. Marla Hofmann, 28:23.06.