Runner of the Year: Emily Venters, Free State
Venters won six of eight meets, including a regional title and first-place finish in the Rim Rock Farm Classic. The senior took second place in the Class 6A state meet and Sunflower League, breaking her own school record with a season-best time of 17:53. Venters signed to run at Boise State.
Coach of the Year: Steve Heffernan, Free State
The Firebirds won a Class 6A state championship for the second time in program history after sweeping Sunflower League and regional titles. In the past four seasons, the Firebirds have finished first or second at state.
Daelynn Anderson, Baldwin — Anderson took 25th at the Class 4A state meet, helping the Bulldogs to fourth place in the team standings. The senior finished ninth at her regional and fourth in the Frontier League, the fourth straight season she medaled at league.
Natalie Beiter, Baldwin — In four meets this season, Beiter placed inside of the top 10, including a fifth-place finish in the Frontier League and taking third in her regional. Beiter, a junior, took 23rd in the Class 4A state meet in 21:04.
Ella Blake, Bishop Seabury — After taking 13th place at her regional in 22;46, Blake was her team’s only individual qualifier for the Class 2A state meet. Blake, a sophomore, took 62nd at state and was a medalist in three meets this season.
Mia Bond, Tonganoxie — Bond placed 36th at the Class 4A state meet, leading the Chieftains to fifth place in the team standings. The junior runner was fourth at her regional and third in the Kaw Valley League, finishing in 20:16 at league.
Kiran Cordes, Free State — For the second straight season, Cordes placed seventh at the Class 6A state meet. The senior took fourth in the Sunflower League and second in her regional, where she ran a personal-best 18:39.
Anna DeWitt, Lawrence — The only LHS state qualifier, DeWitt took 12th at her regional in 20:13 before placing 57th at the Class 6A state meet. The LHS sophomore, who took 21st in the Sunflower League, finished inside of the top 20 at seven meets this year.
Reagan Hiebert, Eudora — Despite battling an illness in the final few weeks of the season, the EHS freshman took third place in the Frontier League. Hiebert placed inside of the top five at four meets this year, running a personal-record time of 20:02.
Riley Hiebert, Eudora — Hiebert won three races throughout the season, including Frontier League and regional championships. The talented freshman runner, who ran a personal-best 19:21, didn’t compete at the state meet, but took third in her Rim Rock Classic race.
Lexia Jamison, Perry-Lecompton — Leading the Kaws to sixth place at the Class 3A state meet, Jamison took fifth in her final prep race. The senior medaled in each race this year, including finishing runner-up in the Big Seven League and regionals with a season-best time of 20:37.
Julia Larkin, Free State — Only a sophomore, Larkin improved her times throughout the season and placed 16th at the Class 6A state meet. Larkin finished ninth at regionals and 14th in the Sunflower League. She won the first meet of the season in an underclassmen race.
Abby Zenger, Free State — Running a personal-best time of 19:44, Zenger took seventh at her regional. The senior runner followed it up with a 12th-place finish at the Class 6A state meet after taking sixth in the Sunflower League. She placed inside of the top 10 at six meets.
Blaise Ball, Perry-Lecompton; Taylor Cawley, Baldwin; Emily Chambers, Tonganoxie; Erin Fagan, Free State; Emma Hertig, Free State; Morgan Jones, Lawrence; Erin Liston, Free State; Maiki Martinez, Baldwin; Halle Norris, Eudora; Selena Silk, Baldwin.