The Buffalo High School cross-country teams returned from Worland victorious on Friday – as girls and boys 3A East conference champions.
The boys team win is their first in a few years, and the girls are champs for the fourth year in a row. Despite missing half of the week’s practices due to snow days and a last-minute course change, the Bison came out on top.
“The kids were a little bit groggy from not having any practice all week,” said coach Sandy Moon. “We had one practice Monday, in the snow, and a practice on Thursday, a pre-meet practice. That was a bummer, but the kids, in spite of that, competed and did the best they could.”
The girls team had three runners finish in the top 10, earning all-conference honors. Senior Lexi Rule led the girls in fourth place, followed by sophomore Briley Farris in eighth and senior Elizabeth Farris in ninth.
On the boys side, four runners earned all-conference honors. Sophomore Brodyn Lambert ran his best race to date to take fourth place.
“Last week, he wasn’t happy with his time in Gillette and that fueled his fire,” Moon said.
Freshman Zach Freise finished fifth, junior Ryer Morrison was sixth, and freshman Cole Rasmuson was seventh.
All seven runners on both the girls and boys teams finished in the top 25, bolstering the team score to bring home the championship.
“You have to be proud of kids who don’t finish in the top 10 and run for their teammates,” Moon said. “When you know you’re out of top 10 but you still have to run so your team can win, it’s giving your pain for your teammates. So that’s nice to see them do that.”
On the girls side, senior Kendall Tietjen, coming off an injury, finished 14th and sophomore Sophie Berglund was 17th. Sophomore Kenley Jones and junior Cantrell Rosalez rounded out the varsity runners in 19th and 22nd places, respectively.
Freshman Ryan Rasmuson, the boys fifth runner, finished just out of all-conference range, in 11th place.
“I looked at him with about 800 (meters) left and said, ‘Buddy you need to run for your team,’” Moon said. “He got a look in his eye and started going and passing people. I was super impressed with his performance.”
Sophomore Carter Redden finished 15th, and senior Kale Benton was 22nd.
And it’s only going to get better for the boys cross-country team. Other than Benton, the varsity team’s oldest member, Ryer Morrison, is only a junior.
“Normally, your kids get stronger and stronger,” Moon said.
The Bison still have one race left to run on Saturday: the state meet at Wyoming Indian High School in Ethete. They ran this course earlier in the season, Moon said, and it’s one that’s flat and fast-paced.
The course won’t be a challenge, but it will be missing the junior varsity squad, which does not run at state.
“When you just go down to your seven to eight runners who are going to go to the state meet, we miss the camaraderie we have as a team,” Moon said. “You want kids to understand it takes all of them to do what we do this week. We wouldn’t be as good without every single one of them.”