Scarlett lifts McLouth to fourth at state
The state cross country course seemed faster Saturday for Matt Scarlett than it was a year ago.
But that wasn't a problem for Scarlett, who also ran the race at a faster pace on the Wamego golf course.
During his final race in a McLouth cross country uniform, Scarlett finished in 17 minutes, 16 seconds. A year earlier, he finished in 17:45.
Last year, he placed 20th, but this season he cracked the top 10 with the No. 10 slot.
On the last hill of the course, Scarlett was in his highest place at eighth, but couldn't hold on during the last stretch.
Scarlett said uphill running is his strong point.
"I think because I work harder," Scarlett said. "Downhill, I relax my heart rate."
The 10th-place finish also guided the Bulldogs to a fifth-place finish as a team.
After winning their Class 2-1A regional in Horton last week, the Bulldogs claimed the No. 5 spot at state which Deerfield won with 70 points. Stanton County finished second with 86, Sacred Heart (Salina) placed third with 102 and Meade finished fourth with 105. MHS finished with 163. Sacred Heart's Kyle Berens won the meet with a 16:30.78 time, while Jefferson County North's Robert Page placed second with a 16:44.31 time.
MHS coach George Karn said his team was shooting for a top-three finish, but didn't have a good feel for how strong other teams would be.
"We came in with high expectations, but didn't know what to expect," Karn said. "I'm proud of them."
Junior Scott Smelser finished in 45th with an 18:11.25 time; freshman Sam Anderson took 53rd in 18:32.97; junior Justin Drinnon placed 64th (18:58.62); and sophomore Nick Edgell placed 77th. Also running for the Bulldogs were Chris Stewart (95th, 20:37.58) and Ryan Saxton (96th, 20:42.22).
Next year's squad looks promising for the Bulldogs. Karn said most runners posted personal bests and only one runner will be lost to graduation.
But that runner's success won't be easy to replicate.
Scarlett has been a top runner for McLouth, but will look to run in college next year. So far, he's had his eye on Emporia State and Pittsburg State. Scarlett plans to major in education and become a teacher and coach.
Girls cross country
McLouth finished regionals with a fourth-place finish behind Highland, Horton and regional winner Jackson Heights. By missing the top three, the Bulldogs couldn't compete as a team, but Erin Watson did advance individually.
Watson placed 29th with a 13:13.36 time at the state meet. WaKeeney-Trego County's Erin Locke won the meet with a 12:12.39 time.
Sacred Heart (Salina) won the meet with a score of 94.
Stanton County, meanwhile, placed second with in an emotional meet for the Trojans. It's been just more than a year since a car accident claimed Trojan standout Tony Arnold's life.
Before the Hi-Plains League meet two weeks ago, runners wore new shoes with "T.A." written on them. Teammates also wrote the initials on their hands for their regional meet in Dighton.
On Saturday, the team nearly had a state championship title, but the Trojans finished with 95, one point behind Sacred Heart.