Logue Keeps on Burning up the Course

Girard's Cormick Logue is making a strong case as Kansas' best cross country runner this fall.

I checked and checked -- and re-checked -- the weather maps for southeast Kansas for the past few weeks, and there is no scientific reason for what seems to be a heat wave in that area.

There is, however, a logical one.

Cormick Logue is on fire...

The Girard senior is lighting up the Kansas cross country scene this fall, having won his first three races with times of 16:12, 15:17 and 15:29. Before this season, Logue's career best was 16:05.

I think I have a pretty good idea what Logue, the defending state champion in class 4A, was doing while he was home from school the last six months. Aside from schoolwork, of course.

Logue has vaulted himself into the conversation as Kansas' best high school cross country runner with his three-week dismantling of courses in Altamont (Labette County), Girard and Parsons. This past week, on Thursday, he beat Iola's Jack Adams (16:17) by 48 seconds.

A year ago, Logue won his first state title, out-dueling a pair of pretty good runners in Hayden's Tanner Newkirk and Buhler's Tanner Lindahl for the win in class 4A. Both of those runners are running faster this season, too, though Logue seems to have taken it up an extra notch to this point.

It's a bummer that Logue didn't get to run at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin this past weekend, or at the Rim Rock Classic next weekend. Both of those meets are loaded with fast runners from several states in the region, and would have been a great measuring stick for just how far Logue has come in a year's time.

Regardless, his early-season success is a pretty good indication of where he's going. And it's likely to be near or at the front of class 4A...again.

Fastest meet of the Week

While Logue's win at Parsons produced the fastest time of the week in Kansas cross country, the fastest meet of the week was probably at the Baldwin Invitational.

St. Thomas Aquinas senior Tommy Hazen, who spent much of his junior year on the injured list, is back and running fast. He clocked 15:46.8 to beat junior teammate Logan Seger, who finished in 15:55.1. Lawrence Free State junior Ben Shryock was just off the pace, finishing third in 16:05.8.

Seventeen runners cracked 17:00 in the boys' race at the Baldwin Invitational this year.

Just as interesting as the individual race was the team battle between six-time defending class 5A state champion Aquinas and Free State, which climbed to the No. 1 ranking in Kansas MileSplit's 6A virtual meet this week.

Aquinas mostly sacked away the team title when Ashton Higgerson finished fourth (16:11.2), but Free State made it interesting with four runners in the top 9 - Shryock, junior Jack Keathley-Helms (16:18.2 for fifth), senior Christopher Stone (16:24.6, sixth) and senior Ethan Sharpe (16:30.7, ninth).

Aquinas' fourth and fifth runners were 12th and 13th, and Free State's fifth was 14th, making the final score Aquinas 32, Free State 36. Mill Valley was third with 61 points.

St. Thomas Aquinas and Free State will match up again at a smaller meet next Saturday hosted by 2019 class 6A state champion Washburn Rural.

In the girls' race at Baldwin, Mill Valley - the two-time defending class 6A state champions - put four runners in the top seven to key a 35-63 win over Baldwin, the No. 1 ranked team in class 4A girls cross country so far this season.

Mill Valley put up a 1-2-3 finish by juniors Bridget Roy (19:29.3) and Katie Schwartzkopf (19:34.7) and senior Molly Ricker (19:49.8), while freshman Peyton Zenger was seventh (20:09.8). Baldwin's Riley Smith led her team with a fourth place finish in 19:55.1. Washburn Rural - which had three runners in the top 10 -- was a solid third with 71 points.

Some other highlights from week 3 of the cross country season include:

* Kodi Downes, a freshman at Council Grove, won a sprint to the finish, clocking 16:20.0 at the Karr Classic, hosted by Northern Heights. Alfonso Rubio of Mission Valley (16:26) and Nolan Redeker of Olpe (16:27) were right on his heels.

* A whole bunch of state champs kept right on winning. Three-time class 4A state champ Taylor Briggs of Chapman won at Clay Center (18:21); class 2A state champ Erin Hammeke of Ellinwood topped the field at the St. John-Hudson Invitational (18:52.2); and class 6A state champ Tori Wingrove of Blue Valley won her team's dual against rival Blue Valley West (19:38).

* Kansas City Christian's Alysia Wagner, fifth at the class 2A state meet last year, won the DeSoto Invitational in 19:34.6. Wagner is now unbeaten in three races this season, including a career-best 19:19 at Lyndon last week.

* Andover Central senior Brent Schoenhoffer clocked 16:21.4 to win the Circle Invitational. Sawyer Schmidt of Augusta placed second in 16:42. Elizabeth Vetter of Andover won the girls' race with a solid time of 19:19.6.

* Tanner Lindahl of Buhler, now a junior who won the class 4A state title as a freshman, scored a win at his team's home meet. Lindahl was clocked in 16:27 for a 35-second victory over Junction City's Tyler Atkins.

* Salina Central junior William Griffith won the Hays Cross Country Invitational in 16:47, holding off a hard-charging Angel Landeros of Dodge City (16:51). Garden City scored 52 for a six-point win over rival Dodge City; both teams had two runners in the top five. The race was run at the Sand Plum Course, which was announced on Wednesday of last week as the site for this year's class 1A and 2A state championships on Oct. 31.

* Here's a name you should keep in mind: Serenity Larson. The Dodge City junior won the Hays Invitational at Sand Plum in 19:51.8, her second win in a row (she won at Hesston last week in a career-best time of 18:57.6). She led her team to 42 points and a 17-point win over Hays.

* Ryan Heline of Smoky Valley clocked 16:50 to win by nearly a minute at the Clay Center Invitational. But his team came up just short in the team standings as Wamego - the class 4A state runner-up a year ago - scored 39 to Smoky Valley's 47.

* Just a little more than 10 days ago, Shawnee Mission East junior Grace Meyer thought the 2020 season was a wash. Then, the Shawnee Mission School District announced that its' schools teams could participate in fall athletics. Meyer, seventh in the class 4A state championships last year running for Bishop Miege, kicked off the new season with a sixth place finish (19:50.7) in the highly-competitive Lee's Summit (Missouri) North Invitational.