Winnett-Melstone repeat as girls’ state champions

By: 
Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Members of the 2016 Class C girls’ cross-country state champions are (from left) Coach Tamaira Wacker, Trista Fortner, Lili Kilmer, BreElle Wacker, Kita Weingart, Franke Johne, Brynn Jolma, Tawny Browning, Assistant Coach Haley Kiehl and Coach Walt Stevens.                                                 

Photo courtesy of Winnett School

Behind the running of Winnett’s Kita Weingart and Melstone’s BreElle Wacker, the Runnin’ Rams repeated as Class C girls’ cross-country champions. Weingart finished in second place with a time of 19:26.20, while Wacker crossed the finish line in fourth place with a time of 20:10.11. Weingart and Wacker are both seniors for the Runnin’ Rams and have competed in cross country all four years of high school. Finishing first in the Class C race was Darby freshman Gracie Lang. Lang’s time was 19:18.08.
The third Winnett-Melstone runner who completed the scoring for the Runnin’ Rams was Melstone foreign exchange student Franke Johne. Her time of 20:55.49 was 15th in the Class C girls’ competition. All three of the Runnin’ Rams earned all-state honors by finishing in the top 15.
Finishing second in the girls’ team competition was Charlo with 36 points. Winnett-Melstone’s first-place score was 21. Third was Cascade with 75 points. Leading the way for the Lady Badgers was former Hobson runner Christina Eike, who was 12th overall.
“It was a fun meet for our kids,” said Winnett-Melstone Coach Walt Stevens. “The facility was very nice, but it was a long ways to go for a state cross-country meet. Rebecca Farm looks like an equestrian center.”
Other girl competitors for the Runnin’ Rams were Tawny Browning in 24th place with a time of 22:38.53, Brynn Jolma in 37th place in 23:31.25, Trista Fortner in 69th in 26:58.31 and Lili Kilmer in 70th at 27:13.61.
“Four of our seven runners had their best times of the season at the state meet,” said Stevens.
The Runnin’ Rams will find it hard to challenge for a third Class C title as only two of the seven girls return next year.

Winnett-Melstone boys finish 16th
The Runnin’ Rams boys’ team finished 16th in the team competition with a total of 192 points for the first three places. The top finisher was senior Braden Jolma, who was 53rd with a time of 19:10.78. The second Runnin’ Ram to cross the finish line was Vitor Gabriel in 65th place and with a time of 20:00.56. The team scoring was completed by the 74th place of Harry Griswold in a time of 20:17.66. Other runners for Winnett-Melstone were Ty Meredith in 75th at 20:20.33 and Cale McCarthy in 94th with a time of 21:11.74.
“All of the boys except one ran their season best times at the state meet,” said Stevens. “I was extremely proud of how well our kids competed.”
Winning the Class C state crown for the boys was Manhattan Christian with 18 points. Roberts was second with 39 points, followed by Belt-Centerville in third with 53 points.
 

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