MANHATTAN — The Manhattan Christian boys and girls cross country teams took home both team championship trophies at the State C cross country race last weekend.
“It’s incredible, starting where we did in eighth grade I had no idea we could go as far," said second-place finisher Riley Schott, a Manhattan Chrisitan senior. "Even as far as I’ve gone, I’m just so impressed with the team and just the program in general and our girls too. It’s unreal. I’m just so proud of everyone. I’m lost for words.”
The boys team won its fifth straight title, having runners place second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. Only the top three scores were needed.
“I personally didn’t have a very good day," said senior Matt Kenney. "It’s super great to be on a great team, that’s more important than the individual part of it. It’s just an awesome ride.”
“It was great to see all the guys come across," said Schott. "It was a very, very cold race and I was in pain for a lot of it. I think we did OK, we did pretty good. I can’t complain with how we did.”
The five straight titles is a new Class C record.
“It’s just surreal what we’ve been able to do as a team, just thankful the girls could have a great day ... and the guys could just put it together," said Kenney. "Just super grateful, there’s a lot of people that helped put this together, just a surreal moment, just coaches and teammates have done a lot to get here. Just super thankful.”
The girls team was led by Ava Bellach, who as just a sophomore took home third place.
"We wanted it so bad that it was something we really wanted, so coming into the finish line, looking behind me and seeing it was that close, we were counting before they even announced it, we were like, ‘Let’s get it,'" said Bellach. "It was really cool to see it happened. It’s what we wanted.”
As for next year's team, the seniors know that the program will be in good hands with head coach Nate TeSlaa, who has built a dynasty.
“I think we just have a great group of young guys and they’re hungry and motivated, they had a good day," said Kenney. "I just think coach TeSlaa is a great coach and the program will hopefully still be in great hands. I just know the young guys will continue to do great things.”