Several Top Times Go Down in Week 3 Meets

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Kansas' cross country runners put a sizable dent in many of the state's ranking lists during a week of racing that included meets against teams from every surrounding state.

Cooper Schroeder of Manhattan, a senior, jumped to the top of the list for the boys' 5000 meters, placing third in the Boys Green division at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo. with a time of 15:36.56. It's a career best for Schroeder, and just .09 off his school's record set two years ago by his older brother, Jackson Schroeder.

Senior Bryce Merriman of Maize South placed fifth in the Boys Green, which was set up for many of the meet's larger schools. Merriman's time of 15:48.53 is a career best and the top time in class 4A this season.

Yates Center junior Hadley Splechter won the Boys Gold division at Joplin, clocking 16:01.35 for the best time in class 2A this season -- and the eighth best in Kansas. His teammate, senior Colin Bedell, placed second in the race, running 16:46.98 for the third best time in 2A this season.

The ladies got into the act, too. Olathe East's Melody Ochana put up the state's fastest freshman time of the year, placing tenth in the Girls Green race at Joplin. Her time of 19:23.78 is about 10 seconds better than the time that Riley Beach of Blue Valley Northwest ran a week earlier.

Manhattan junior Clara Mayfield was the top Kansas finisher in the Girls Green division, placing fourth in 19:02.

Mill Valley led the Kansas teams at Joplin, finishing third in the Boys Green division, and second in Girls Green. The boys' squad, led by sophomore Jack Terry (24th in 16:23), posted a 36 second pack time and 16:49 average.

Mill Valley's girls kept the Big Pack Machine rolling, too. This week, they put up a 59 second split and 19:52 average for their first five runners. Junior Delaney Kemp was 15th (19:31) and senior Britton Nelson was 19th (19:39) to lead the Jaguars.

On the boys' side, Olathe East was fifth and Maize South was eighth to highlight the top 10 for Kansas teams. Maize South's girls placed fifth and Manhattan was eighth in the girls' standings.

Stockton, Mo. won the Boys Gold division in a tight race against a pair of Kansas teams. Stockton scored 74, to Girard's 76 and Yates Center's 78. Senior Ryan Hughes led Girard with a seventh place finish, while freshman Cormick Logue placed tenth.

Heartland Classic

In other meets this week, five Kansas teams traveled to Ames, Ia. for the Heartland Classic and came away with several impressive performances.

St. Thomas Aquinas' boys placed third behind two of the best teams in the United States. Edina, Minn. and Stillwater, Minn. -- annually among the top 3 in the Nike Heartland Regional -- outran the Saints this week. Two other regional heavyweights -- Dowling Catholic (Iowa) and Lincoln Southwest (Nebraska) -- finished fourth and fifth.

Aquinas' Ethan Marshall, a junior, continues his impressive season, placing eighth overall in 16:13.4. Marshall had the top time in class 6A before this week; he led a 1:06 pack for St. Thomas Aquinas on Saturday.

Blue Valley Southwest's boys, led by senior Dylan Miller's seventh place finish in 16:13.2, was 16th as a team, followed by Shawnee Mission Northwest (20th), Shawnee Mission South (27th) and Blue Valley West (28th). There were 32 teams at the Heartland Classic this year.

Olivia Sovereign of St. Thomas Aquinas, a junior and the class 5A defending state champion, posted the top time in class 5A girls this year, placing second overall in 19:06.6. The Saints placed seventh as a team.

Blue Valley West's girls were 10th at the meet, led by sophomore Sophie Call (fifth in 19:26), while Shawnee Mission South was 13th and Blue Valley Southwest was 21st.

Plenty of Fast Elsewhere, Too

At the Hugoton Invitational, junior Jack Thomas of Scott Community posted an impressive win in 16:19, just a sprint ahead of Lamar, Colorado's Blake Davis (16:23), Hugoton senior Abraham Garcia (16:28), and Meade junior Ethan Thompson (16:33). Garcia's time is the second best among 3A boys this season, while Thompson's time is a career best and the No. 2 time in class 2A.

Hugoton's boys, the class 3A defending champs, won the team title, edging Lamar by a point, 53-54. Class 5A Liberal placed third with 68 points.

Katie Horyna of Liberal, a sophomore, won the girls individual title at Hugoton with a time of 20:16, beating out Scott Community senior Makaela Stevens (20:55). But Scott Community turned the tables in the team race, scoring 37 points to Liberal's 45. Class 3A defending state champion Hugoton placed third in the girls division.

At the Circle Invitational, two of the best boys' teams in class 4A squared off. Circle's boys, led by a 1-2 finish from Emmitt Keller (17:00) and Avery Stuever (17:13), downed Andover Central, which was led by Matthew Maki (third, 17:14) and Monty Christo III (fourth, 17:18).

Andover Central got the better of Circle on the girls' side, however, scoring 45 points for a two point win over the home team. Cailan Steward of Andover Central led the winning effort, placing second in 20:49, while teammate Alexandra Schumann was third in 20:56. Circle's Kelsie Kelly led her team with a fourth place finish in 21:04.

A pretty good team battle at Baldwin Invitational, too. Class 6A Lawrence Free State, the defending class 6A state champs, scored 66 points to edge class 4A Baldwin (71) and class 6A Shawnee Mission East (73). Julia Larkin was the top finisher for Free State, placing fourth in 20:56.

Baldwin, the 2015 class 4A state champs, continue to impress. They are a legitimate contender again for the 4A crown, and were led Saturday by junior Natalie Beiter, who was third in 20:53.

Seniors Lucas Shryock (17:04) and Jeremiah Tesfaye (17:08) led a 1-2 sweep by Olathe South in the boys' race at Baldwin. Olathe South won the team title with 32 points.

Thursday's highlights

Chapman runners swept the individual titles at the Clay Center Invitational last Thursday. Junior Aaron Modrow took the boys' crown in a time of 18:03, while freshman Taylor Briggs, who has the fourth best time in class 4A this season, picked up her second win in a row in 20:51.83.

Wamego, led by Cody Stegman's fifth place finish (19:01), won the boys' title, while Chapman got the win on the girls' side.

Connor Griffith of Great Bend outsprinted Garrett Mick of Newton to win the Buhler Invitational with a time of 17:23. Mick was second in 17:26. Great Bend also beat Newton in the team standings.

The girls' race went to Erin Topham of Berean Academy, winning in 21:05. Valley Center won the team title with 79 points to Buhler's 92.

Garden City's boys had six of the top 8 finishers and beat rival Dodge City in the 5A-6A division of the Hays Invitational. The 1A-4A girls' team title could be considered a bit of a surprise: Thomas More Prep scored 46 points to beat Norton Community (52) and Hays (56).

The 5A-6A individual winners at Hays were Junction City's Michelle Sanchez (20:14) and Javier Marquez of Dodge City (17:24). The 1A-4A winners were Lexi Kats (21:40) and Connor Hall of Norton Community (18:39).

Dallin Bailey of West Franklin notched the fifth-best time in class 4A with a win at the Wellsville Invitational (16:55). Freshman Collin Oswalt of Central Christian (Hutchinson) moved to No. 4 on the state's freshman list with a win at the St. John Invitational (17:19).

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