Senior Annie Kuklenski has run at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. a total of 10 times, which means she has logged over 24 miles on the steep and hilly course. However, Kuklenski’s tenth and final time was on Saturday, Nov. 2 as part of the girls’ cross country team that qualified for the Kansas Cross Country State Championships. The team of seven girls placed eighth overall out of 12 teams. Freshman John Arnspiger also participated in the State meet. Arnspiger placed 23 after qualifying individually at Regionals.
The varsity girls’ cross country team raced a 5K at noon after placing second at Regionals. It was the first time in six years that the team qualified for State. The team consisted of seniors Annie Kuklenski and Meg McAlister, juniors Hannah Arnspiger and Theresa McAlister, sophomore Tess Iler and freshmen Hope Dunn and Bria Foley. Junior Audrey Danciger was the alternate.
Senior Meg McAlister placed first for East, 41 out of 95 runners with a time of 16:39. Senior Annie Kuklenski finished second for East with a time of 16:47, 45 overall. Third for East was freshman Bria Foley, running a 16:57. Foley placed 56 overall.
“[Placing first for East] was really exciting,” Meg McAlister said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. I just wanted to do the best I could for this race and I wanted to do the best for the team because I really wanted us to come in on a good place.”
Freshman John Arnspiger was the only boy from East to individually qualify for state after placing sixth at Regionals. Arnspiger ran a 5K at 10:30 a.m. and placed 23 out of 104. Even though Arnspiger did not receive a medal, he did get All-State.
Although John Arnspiger was the only boy racing for East, his teammates were with him every step of the way. Members of the varsity boys’ team continued to practice with him and came out to Rim Rock show their support for John Arnspiger.
This was Meg McAlister and Kuklenski’s last high school cross country race, a bittersweet moment.
“I feel pretty sad actually [knowing it’s my last race],” Kuklenski said. “I was so happy to go to state, especially with my teammates. It was so much fun that we all got to run together and so I’m sad, but happy that we ended on a good note.”
John Arnspiger 16:53 23rd overall
Meg McAlister 16:39 41st overall
Annie Kuklenski 16:47 45th overall
Bria Foley 16:57 56th overall
Theresa McAlister 16:57 57th overall
Hannah Arnspiger 17:16 69th overall
Hope Dunn 17:24 75th overall
Tess Iler 17:24 76th overall