By William /

ELLSWORTH – The Smoky Valley cross country teams traveled to Ellsworth on Tuesday and found much success by winning the high school varsity boys division, taking first in the boys race plus third and fifth in the girls run.

Tytus Reed continued to find success this fall season as he ran a 17:34.40 race to take first place for the Viking boys while the team easily outpaced the other competitors to win the team title with 35 points. Hesston finished second with 83 while Abilene with 95, Chapman with 98 and Ell-Saline with 110 rounded out the top five of nine full teams competing.

Three other Viking boys placed in the top-10 as Justice Gardner finished sixth, with Garrett Huffman and Samuel Peterson finishing ninth and tenth respectively.

The Lady Viking runners placed second to Salina Sacred Heart with 35 points, just five points behind the champions. Only four full teams competed with Abilene and Buhler getting 78 and 85 team points.

Gracie Lambert placed third while running a 21:43.60 race while Keira Mullen and Sophia Fruits also placed in the top-10 running fifth and seventh respectively.

“We battled the hills on one of the toughest venues on which to compete,” explained Viking head coach Jay Myers. “This is a great time of the year to be challenged with multiple hilly courses. I did not feel we handled it last year attitude-wise, so I went into this one bound and determined to try some attack strategies on the hills. While we didn’t bat 1.000 with our kids on that piece of race advice, we did a heck of a lot better than before.”

Coach Myers continued his post-meet reflections by talking about the runners, saying, “Shout outs for notable efforts start with Tytus Reed who took his ‘anger’ at his MileSplit and channeled it into a first-place run. Hats off to Justice (Gardner), Garrett (Huffman), Samuel (Peterson), and Britton (Becker) for all finishing in the top-15 today. Gracie (Lambert), Keira (Mullen), and Sophia (Fruits) were all medalists while Olivia (Bengtson) ran her best and gutsiest race today. We had three girls and five boys medal today. Both Elijah Spooner and Immanuel Cooper had notable efforts in the junior varsity boys race.”

In the Junior High competition, several Smoky Valley runners found success with the 7th grade Junior Viking boys finished fourth in the team standings with Walker Cole being the top team finisher as he came in second.

Parker Gardner placed fourth in the 8th grade boys division while Sophia Eyer finished second in the 7th grade girls.

Three 8th grade Junior Lady Viking runners placed in the top-10 with Gracia Peterson placing fifth, Emma Hauck placing seventh and Mila Sims placing eighth.

Concluding his reflections, Coach Myers added, “I thought our kids did a better job than usual giving some pep to their teammates. Kudos to that. You want to do that kind of stuff, that’s when you can call us a cross country family!”

Next up for the Viking harriers will be a home meet with Pratt and Hesston on Tuesday, October 12 before running at the Abilene Invitational on Saturday, October 16.



Team Standings = 1. Salina Sacred Heart 30; 2. SMOKY VALLEY LADY VIKINGS 35; 3. Abilene 78; 4. Buhler 85.

Varsity (42 runners) =

Gracie Lambert finished 3rd running 21:43.60

Keira Mullen finished 5th running 23:10.10

Sophia Fruits finished 7th running 23:53.30

Olivia Bengtson finished 16th running 25:59.90

Adrien Lochard finished 22nd running 26:51.20

Esther Clark finished 26th running 27:26.10

Kenzie Heline and Lydia Peterson did not run due to injuries.


Team Standings = 1. SMOKY VALLEY VIKINGS 35; 2. Hesston 83; 3. Abilene 95; 4. Chapman 98; 5. Ell-Saline 110; 6. Minneapolis 148; 7. Salina Sacred Heart 168; 8. Buhler 172; 9. Ellsworth 196.

Varsity (64 runners):

Tytus Reed finished 1st running 17:34.40

Justice Gardner finished 6th running 18:38.70

Garrett Huffman finished 9th running 18:49.90

Samuel Peterson finished 10th running 18:51.30

Britton Becker finished 13th running 19:25.00

Brayden Eyer finished 39th running 21:18.50

Sebastian Pavlovich finished 47th running 21:58.80

Junior Varsity (37 runners):

Elijah Spooner placed 21st running 24:24.10

Immanuel Cooper placed 22nd running 24:58.70

Nicholas Dreier placed 35th running 32:07.60


7TH Grade Boys =

Team Standings = 1. Concordia 33; 2. Abilene 56; 3. Buhler Prairie Hills 61; 4. SMOKY VALLEY JUNIOR VIKINGS 102; 5. Hesston 143; 6. Tescott 159.


Walker Cole finished 2nd running 12:53.20

Finch Johnson finished 22nd running 16:15.90

Pierce Keller finished 24th running 16:20.10

Christian Ericson finished 28th running 17:02.30

Isaiah Avala finished 31st running 17:17.00

Charlie Bowman finished 38th running 18:47.20

Hudson Gustus finished 48th running 23:23.00


Parker Gardner placed 4th running 13:27.40

Atticus Pavlovich placed 14th running 15:09.30

Kaden Bishop placed 21st running 18:04.50


Sophia Eyer finished 2nd running 6:43

Emma Chaput finished 11th running 7:21


Gracia Peterson placed 5th running 15:38.30

Emma Hauck placed 7th running 16:00.90

Mila Sims placed 8th running 16:02.70

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