On the same course Saturday, Rienbolt became the third Fort Scott State champion -- the first girl to accomplish the feat -- as she ran a personal-record time of 14:50.20 in winning the meet by nearly 40 seconds.
"I was really excited about it," Rienbolt said. "I've wanted to break 15 for a long time. That was just a bonus to the day."
Paige White, a senior from Baxter Springs, was the runner-up with a time of 15:28.40 and Mikala Heddin, a sophomore from Hesston, was third in 15:40.80.
Fort Scott head coach Tracey Bogina said that she and Rienbolt didn't change their approach to this race much just because it was the State meet.
"It's State; it's already big," Bogina said. "She had competed so well all season long, there was nothing to change. She went out and competed incredibly tough."
Rienbolt said that one thing she and Bogina did go over was how she started last year's race.
"Bo and I talked about how last year, my start really wasn't the best," Rienbolt said. "So knowing the course and how the first stretch was, I knew my start had to change."
Other than that, there wasn't much need to change the way someone who has won each of her last six races approaches things.
"We just kept everything the same," Bogina said. "The only thing she had to do was get a good start and run the same race she's ran all year. And she did exactly that. She didn't change anything."
Rienbolt said she doesn't really feel there's a point in any race where she can be assured she's not going to be caught. She started feeling more confident with about two miles to go.
"You don't really know," she said. "You just run on to the finish line and don't look back."
When Rienbolt crossed the finish line, she had bettered her previous PR by 17 1/2 seconds (a 15:07.69 she ran at Independence on Oct. 4).
"It felt amazing," Rienbolt said. "All you've worked for comes that one day. And Coach Bo says there's really only two meets that matter this whole year, Regionals and State. This whole season's been great and this just topped if off."
Bogina said Rienbolt's win comes because of how hard she works at the sport.
"She works hard and she's very committed to being a very good distance runner," Bogina says. "I was so happy for her that she competed well and won a State title because of all the hard work she puts in."
NOTES -- Fort Scott's other State champion cross country runners are Jami Clark, who won Class 5A boys in 1994, and Trey Vernon, the 5A boys' champ in 1997....
The three Fort Scott runners are among seven Southeast Kansas League runners who have won State titles. Clark was the first. Labette County's Nathaniel Wheatley won Class 4A the same year Vernon won 5A.
Janet Triber of Labette County was the first SEK girls' champ, winning 5A in 1984. The other two are from Ottawa, which was a member of the SEK from 1987-91. Murphy of Ottawa won 5A in 1987 and Johnson from there won 5A the following year....