McPherson High’s cross country team will have the home-course advantage on Saturday when for one of the rare times in school history the Bullpups will be hosting a Class 4A regional meet at Rolling Acres Golf Course.
The girls start at 10:30 a.m., with the boys getting under way about 11:10.
County school Smoky Valley will be among the teams joining the Bullpups and the Viking boys will be in the title hunt and they also have some solid girl runners.
Other teams are Abilene, Buhler, Chapman, Clay Center, Concordia, Hays, Holcomb, Hugoton, Larned, Nickerson, Pratt, Rock Creek, Ulysses and Wamego.
Three teams qualify for state, with the possibility of additional individual qualifiers.
Rolling Acres is a tremendously challenging course with its scenic hills and rugged terrain, so MHS coach Aspen Lott believes with her team having had a meet here last month, that should give the Bullpups an advantage.
“Yes, running at home will definitely be a huge advantage for us,” Lott said. “These kids know these hills more than anyone. We have seen Buhler already this season, so we know what we have to do to compete with them. The kids have worked all season for this day. They are ready and will have to all work together, bringing our 5th-7th runners up. It's going to take everyone's best performance to make it, but I know they are more than capable of doing it.”
The MHS girls will be led by Natalie Hedlund, who had a Top 10 performance in the MHS Invitational. Also running for the girls will be Katie Bahr, Maggie Leaf, Claire Hedlund, Kassidy Beam and Katelyn Beam.
The MHS boys welcome back Tyler Timson, who has been out with an injury. Completing the lineup are Isaiah Moyer, Cole Hansen, Gradeon Green, Cody Achilles, Silas Steinert and Justus Hampton. Moyer was the Bullpups’ top finisher in the McPherson Invitational.
The state meet is a week from Saturday at Wamego.