Cross Country Is Underway, Week 1 Review

Kapaun Mt Carmel was happy with their team titles at JK Gold on Saturday.
(Photo by J Hobson)

Cross country season is off to a great start. With 18 meets held between Thursday and Saturday, we got our first glimpse of what this year may have in store for us, and boy was it fun. Meets were varying in distance, with varsity two-mile and 5K races across the state. That makes things a little more difficult to compare, but this is cross country, no two courses truly compare anyway.

Boys Individual Rankings

Leading things off on Thursday, the Greg Wilson Classic at Shawnee Mission Park was the 5A/6A headliner. Wyatt Haughton of Shawnee Mission East was the boys champ, winning by 11 seconds over heavy favorite Micah Blomker of Shawnee Mission North. I wouldn't worry too much about the Junior out of North, though. He was 2nd at Greg Wilson last year, too, and that season worked out magically for him. For the girls, it was all Olathe West, as expected. They were led by senior Charis Robinson, and packed 4 in the top 5, all under 20:00.

Out West, Stanton County had a strong start at the Meade Invitational. Defending 2A champs Kamryn Golub and Chesney Peterson won the varsity 2-mile races, with Peterson winning hers by 90 seconds. The team races had strong showings from Meade's boys and Stanton County's girls, but Liberal's 6A depth was too much for the 1A and 2A schools to handle, and they took first on both sides. In GoodlandEmma Weiner of Golden Plains started the season off with a win, while Norton took the girls team title. Lakin's Alex Luce won the boys division, while a young Holcomb team packed 4 in the top 5 to win.

Girls Individual Rankings

Down at the Clearwater Invitational, Hayley Trotter picked up right where she left off, winning the two-mile by over a minute. Collegiate's CJ Meyer was the top dog on the boys side. Team scores weren't kept, but I was impressed with Berean Academy's boys and Cheney's girls.

At the Basehor-Linwood Bobcat Invite, Spring Hill's Logan Beckman took the individual crown, ahead of notable 5A athletes Jackson Esquibel and Kory Sutton, both of Shawnee Heights. That also led Spring Hill to take the team title over the Thunderbirds by 4 points. The girls side was loaded with talent at the top, with Piper's Grace Hanson taking the win over Hanna Keltner and Sydney Owens of Eudora. The latter two would lead their team to an overwhelming victory.

At Abilene, Southeast of Saline came out with a leaping right hook at the rest of 3A. Four runners under 18:00, scoring 19 points, and two scoring freshmen to boot. The girls asserted their dominance over a solid Sacred Heart team, placing 4 in the top 6.

Saturday's Manhattan Invite saw the cross country debut of Salina Central's Katelyn Rupe, who won by a whopping 2 ½ minutes! Her time of 17:45 is remarkable on a tough Warner Park course. Lawrence won a close team battle over Seaman for the team crown. On the boys side, Lenny Njoroge was the best one on the course, taking the win by 42 seconds. Wamego had a great showing team-wise to win with just 36 points to Manhattan's 107.

Meet Results

JK Gold down in Wichita was delayed by rain for a while, but the show went on. Kapaun Mt Carmel was the best team on both sides, with the girls defeating Bishop Carroll by 11, and the boys beating Wichita Trinity by 36. Brett Jacobson of Circle and Kaleb Glazier of Maize were the individual winners.

Lastly, the biggest surprise of the week was up in Marysville. Nemaha Central's John Langill came out and ran a 16:17 to win the meet. That's a PR by roughly a minute, and 2 ½ minutes ahead of his season opener last year. He's been a good runner before, but nobody was expecting him to make a run at the 3A individual crown, let alone do it this early in the year.