“That was fun!” head coach Josh Floetke said in describing his first season as head coach for the Lansing Lions cross country team. 

The Lions finished their year off at Rim Rock Farm with a fourth-place finish at the state meet on the boys' side. The girls' season wrapped up the week prior with a sixth-place finish at regionals.

After previously being an assistant, Floetke took over as head coach. He said the biggest adjustments was him altering workouts, but he said that was also based on the runners the team had. He also was in charge of planning out the week. Floetke also said there were some traditions and other things that the team had to let go when he took over.

Floetke was asked what he thought the best meets were this season.

“It is hard to pick one meet considering we had many good meets and two teams to think about,” Floetke said. “For the girls' squad, Baldwin seemed to be a good all-around showing. For the boys, the state meet showed that they could all come together and run well on the same day.”

He also said it is hard to pick an MVP.

“It really depends,” Floetke said. “In cross country, it is often the fifth runner that has the biggest effect on team scores. But the No. 1 runner is obviously important. I attribute the success we had on the boys' side this year on having solid talent at all five varsity scoring spots.”

He said the boys winning the first United Kansas Conference meet and getting two home meets at the University of Saint Mary are the things he will remember most.

He said Ty Bieber was the most improved runner. The senior studied abroad last year after running with the Lions as a sophomore.

Bieber was one of 14 seniors on the team this year. The others were Austin Garcia, Meadow Garcia, Celeste Hammond, Annelise Holland, Juliet Aguilar, Daphne Clemens, Andrew Allen, Nathaniel Baker, Joseph Lozenski, Alexzie Diaz, Matthew Stephen, Ben Vardiman and Eric Wessel. 

Floetke said the seniors made up almost half the team so they will need to figure out how to get the numbers up, but he said it will be hard to say goodbye. 

“This group of seniors, especially the four-year letter seniors, represent a group of runners who pretty much spent an hour or more together a day most days of the year for four years,” Floetke said. “It is going to be hard to say goodbye to them, as we have built a lot of memories with this group.”

Although they are losing a lot, Floekte said the boys' varsity squad will be solid with Liam Neidig, Terry Robinson and Michael Howell returning. Floetke said the three had been trading off as leaders this season. He hopes they can get the numbers up next year, especially with the loss of 14 seniors. He wants to see an increase on the girls' side to be able to have two full squads for both genders.