Cross Country program continues tradition with dominant state performance


Drew Hanson, Co-editor

When thinking of school traditions, many of us think of Hanging of the Greens, Homecoming, and Prom. While these traditions are all strong, the strongest is revealed in the gym. When entering the gym, you see 13 state championship banners from one sport alone. The Southeast of Saline Cross Country team owns those banners, and with the recent boys state win, 14 will soon hang from the rafters. 

Returning six of the top seven from last year’s state championship team, the expectation was exactly that, a state win. The boys did not disappoint; they took  home first place at every meet and often placed the entire varsity within the top 15. 

Their success impressed the states coaches, as they were atop the coaches poll for the entire season- except the last week. When the poll came out the Tuesday before state, SES was ranked number two  behind newcomer Silver Lake. 

This was not something that sat well with the Trojans. 

“I think they took a little offense to it,” head coach Wade Caselmen said in an interview with reporter Huey Counts. 

However, runner Luke Gleason noted that this may have been an advantage. 

“I think it definitely put a chip on our shoulder, but that’s good; we like playing the underdog. Last year, we weren’t even mentioned as a contender, and we wanted to prove we were. This year, we had to prove to them we’re still the best.” 

And that’s exactly what they did, posting 35 points to Silver Lake’s 44. The Trojans were led by first place finisher Dylan Sprecker, who is now the only male champion in Southeast’s history. He won the race in 16:34, doing so as only a sophomore. Sprecker placed 18th last year as a freshman. 

“After last year, I really wanted to improve. Being apart of this team has been humbling,” he said. 

The rest of the top five consisted of Dominic Jackson in 4th, Luke Gleason in 5th, Damion Jackson in 13th, and Drew Hanson in 26th. 

With the season concluded, the squad is already set on next year. They will return the entire top seven and look primed to repeat. 

“I believe next year will be another win. I also think we will get more in all-state,” junior Dominic Jackson said.

Also looking for the state title next year will be the girls, who placed second to a stacked Norton team. 

Sophomore Jentrie Alderson is one of the fastest girls in Kansas, and she won the race in a blazing 18:50. Both Sprecker and Alderson were the first Trojans to ever place first at the state meet. 


Freshman Ashley Prochazka also performed exceptionally well, placing 10th. In addition to Alderson and Prochazka, Mallorie Pearson (30th), Avery Caselman (47th), and Savannah Sutton (48th) will all return next year. 

All of these girls are underclassmen, which makes their situation very similar to the boys’ situation a year ago. Further improving the girls title hopes, Norton will lose 2018 state champion Lexi Kats to graduation. 

Given this, and with both the boys and girls returning all scoring places, the dynasty does not look to end soon for Southeast of Saline. The team, school, and running community should not be surprised if Southeast carries on its strongest tradition next year.