Past the Tipping Point: Time to Settle In

The varsity boys crest the first hill at Southeast of Saline
Photo by Jessica Sprecker

Week 4 is somewhat of a transitional period. The terms 'Early Season' and 'Preparation Phase' are suddenly gone from our vocabulary. Small meets start to give way to larger invitationals, and the stakes only go up from here. For many, the marker of that transition is the Rim Rock Classic, which returned after a one-year hiatus in 2020.

Hosted by the University of Kansas on Saturday, teams from 7 states converged on Rim Rock Farm to battle it out across 3 varsity divisions. The Gold races contained the bulk of the Kansas elite, along with dozens of teams and individuals from out of state. Usually those out-of-state teams (particularly from Colorado) find some success at Rim Rock. Valor Christian (a private school in South Denver) continued that trend, sweeping the individual and team titles. Ty Garrett (15:18) and Keeghan Edwards (17:50) had the fastest times across all divisions for Valor.

Kansas athletes took both runner-up spots, though. Mill Valley's Katie Schwartzkopf continued her impressive senior campaign, following up the winner in 18:00, beating the likes of Olivia Bakker (BV West), Grace Hanson (Piper), and Grace Meyer (SM East).

For the boys, it was Aquinas Senior Logan Seger who took silver, running 15:23. He outpaced a slew of household Kansas names. Tanner Lindahl, the second Kansas runner across the line, had a strong finish to claim 6th in 15:39.8, just outleaning his rival from Hayden, Tanner Newkirk (also 15:39.8). Sawyer Schmidt of Augusta and Wyatt Haughton of SM East also finished in the top-10.

Team-wise, Aquinas was the top boys team in 4th, and Manhattan's girls led Kansas teams in 4th as well.

Other highlights from Rim Rock:

BV Northwest went 1-2 in the Crimson race with Samuel Hurley (16:05) and Drew Mason (16:12).

Serenity Larson from Dodge City had a massive PR of 19:19 to claim bronze in the girls Crimson race.

Hayley Trotter dominated the girls Blue field from start to finish in 19:35.

Council Grove's Kodi Downes opens a 22-second gap in the final mile to win the boys Blue race in 16:14.

Rim Rock wasn't the only action going on this week, though. Out West at the Stanton County Invite, Southwestern Heights's girls (ranked #3 in 3A) continue to impress, knocking off the home team (#1 in 2A) 32-35. Chesney Peterson led Stanton County's effort in 19:00. The Trojans would win the boys race with ease, however, led by Kamryn Golub's winning time of 17:02.

Emma Weiner of Golden Plains was a standout at the Ness City meet, running 20:49 to win by almost two minutes. The boys team title was a close one as well, with Hoxie (#6 in 2A) outmatching Quinter (#1 in 1A) 37-41.

Belleville's flat course is a favorite of Highway-36 schools, and times were fast with the nice Thursday weather. Silas Miller (16:36) led the way for the boys, leading Marysville to the team title over Clay Center. The Tigers answered back in the girls race, though, scoring just 18 points to Marysville's 52. Jane Letourneau's 21:17 was good enough to bring home an individual gold for Beloit-St John's.

Southeast of Saline also put on a fast invite. It's almost the same story we're used to: Everyone runs around a field for a while and Southeast of Saline wins. Individually, that was true, Dylan Sprecker (15:32) and Jentrie Alderson (18:25) both won in dominating fashion. However, the shake-up was in the team rankings. Just five days after going to Buhler and upsetting the #1 team in 4A on their home course, Southeast's boys (#1 in 3A), were upset at home. The stunner was pulled off by 2nd-ranked Wichita Trinity, 30-34.

Lastly, waayy up North, a handful of Kansas athletes competed at Roy Griak in Minnesota. Micah Blomker was second in the boys Gold race in 15:56. Blue Valley Southwest, the best boys team in Kansas according to Milesplit, was 9th overall.

Olathe West, the top Kansas girls team, was at the top of the podium in the girls Gold race. The Owls scored 172 points, edging out Middleton, Wisconsin by just 6 points. Competition at Griak is similar to that of the Nike Heartland Regional, so this bodes well for the Owls should they decide to take on that challenge in November.

Olathe North (#2 in 6A) was well-represented too, with Anjali Hocker-Singh running 18:20 to get 4th in the girls Gold race. Her team would finish 10th in the field of 45.