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Prairie View freshman Bree Allen pushes the pace on her home course in the Ramsey Invitational. Allen, who won her regional and placed second at state, was named the Tri-County Spotlight Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

LA CYGNE — Bree Allen won a lot of medals during her freshman campaign with the Lady Buffalos cross country team. That is only part of what made her season such a special one. Allen pushed herself, set an example for her teammates and was the spark plug for the girls team that left state with the first trophy in school history.

Allen was the Class 3A regional champion and was runner-up at the state meet in Wamego.

She placed in every meet this season and was first in all but two of them during the regular season. Allen was runner-up at Anderson County in the first meet of the season and second at Wellsville, finishing second by 14 and 17 seconds.

Allen is the Tri-County Spotlight Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

“Bree had a phenomenal freshman season in cross country,” Prairie View coach Marcie Caldwell said. “Bree was very motivated this season, not only for her individual goals but also for the team goals. She has a sunny personality that draws people to her. Her confidence and drive helped keep the rest of the team focused and moving forward.

“She is a natural leader who is not afraid to tell someone what they might not want to hear, but she also leads by encouragement and praise of her teammates,” Caldwell said. “Bree also led by example by working hard at practice and getting the most out of every run; and then running each race the best she could.”

Allen thanked her family and her teammates for their support, sharing the honor and recognition with all of them.

Bree followed some big shoes in the family. Her sister, Brooke, who ran for the Lady Buffalos in high school was a Spotlight girls runner of the year.

“Being named Spotlight girls runner of the year is very exciting,” she said. “It was a dream come true. It was something I dreamed about ever since my sister was Spotlight girls runner of the year her freshman year.

“My family has made a huge impact on me and I would not be where I am without my parents and sisters,” Allen said. “I am so thrilled and grateful for this recognition.”

Allen cut nearly two minutes off her time during the course of the season. She ran a season-best time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds at the Central Heights Invitational. Her time was the fastest on the area Spotlight list.

Allen was named No. 1 on the SEK Cross Country team.

Prairie View won the regional title, qualifying the entire team for the state meet. The Lady Buffalos placed third at state, winning the first team trophy in the history of the program.

Allen pushed herself and teammates in practice and on the course, Caldwell said.

“It is exciting for a coach to have an athlete with such self-motivation,” Caldwell said. “This year I was blessed to have several with that same motivation. Bree worked hard for this, and it is gratifying to see that hard work get rewarded.”

Allen was used to running two miles in grade school. There was an adjustment getting used to the three-mile races in high school.

“To start off the season I was very nervous to run a 5K,” she said. “As the first few meets went by I started to gain more confidence in myself and how I could perform. Our team, I believe, felt the same way.

“On our state team we had three upper classmen: senior Jessica Petric, sophomore Kelsie Konitzer and sophomore Ella McCammon. There were three other freshmen: Wylie Teagarden, Ryleigh Lueker and Kally Stoup,” Allen said. “We were all very nervous, and I don’t think our community was expecting us to perform as well as we did, which makes it so much more exciting.

“For me, I loved the team atmosphere and having girls to practice and share the experience with,” she said. “We are honored to bring home the third-place trophy. We hope to continue a great program and build on it for the years to come. Being the first girls cross country team to go to state since 1986 was rewarding, and hopefully we can build on this accomplishment for seasons to come.”

It was a great season, Allen said, and the future is very bright.

“Being a state medalist and placing third as a team at state is beyond explainable,” she said. “It has been a dream of my teammate Wylie Teagarden and I since we started running in fifth grade.

“We would have not been able to achieve this without the dedication and leadership of our coaches Marcie Caldwell and Joy Epperson,” Allen said. “We have all worked very hard for this moment and are very proud to represent Prairie View and our community.”

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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