Twilight Shines Again, Week 2 Review

Hannnah Gibson of Shawnee Mission South had a career day at Olathe Twilight (Photo by J Hobson)

How long does it take Kansas runners to get into form once the season starts?

As it would seem, about a week. With three massive meets in Olathe, Wamego, and Hesston, you have to bring your A-game or else get left in the dust.

Let's address the elephant in the room first: Olathe Twilight. The meet has exploded into national relevance over the past few years, and this year pushed the needle even further. Two runners went under the Kansas all-time XC 5K record (well... three, actually, but Missourians obviously don't count). Wyatt Haughton of Shawnee Mission East, covering the ODAC course in 14:46.8, is your new record holder. Wichita Trinity's Clay Shively was just off the mark in 14:47.4. They took 2nd and 3rd, respectively, just seconds behind Sage Wilde of Liberty North in Missouri.

Those are three of the top five times in the country this year.

Not to be left out, Colby King of St Thomas Aquinas was 4th in 14:50, holding claim to the #7 time in the country. Overnight, the Kansas sub-15 club has doubled in size.

A few disclaimers, though. Layne Boyer of Fredonia still holds the official Kansas High School 5K record of 14:46.0 from the 2007 track season. It was also 59 degrees with 9mph winds and about 10 feet of total elevation gain throughout the course. These runners may not get a day this perfect the rest of their careers, and they certainly took advantage of that opportunity.

The girls didn't exactly run slow, either. Hannah Gibson set a school record for Shawnee Mission South, winning in 17:54. She defeated the likes of Anjali Hocker-Singh (Olathe North) and Paige Mullen (Shawnee Mission NW). All three are top-100 nationally. Olathe West's girls went 4-7-9-10-11 to win in dominant fashion on the team side. The next Kansas team, St James, was 140 points back.

Team-wise for the boys, things looked the same as the individuals: 1. Liberty North, 2. Shawnee Mission East, 3. Wichita Trinity.

From a power-ranking perspective, SM East is now the #1 team in Kansas. Their 1-2-3 punch was wicked, and they toppled the likes of Olathe South, Desoto, St Thomas Aquinas, and Blue Valley Southwest. Kapaun Mt Carmel is probably #2 (more on them in a minute), while Wichita Trinity is #3.

Wait, that can't be right... Trinity is 3A. Surely Olathe South's 1944 students can overwhelm Trinity's 288, right?

Statistically speaking, they should. But Trinity is a statistical anomaly, and undoubtedly the greatest small-school team in the country. Keep an eye on this team as the season progresses.

Back to Kapaun Mt Carmel (who beat Trinity last week), they were dominant at the Emporia Invite, led by runner-up Luke Brock in 15:58. Maize's Kaleb Glazier was the individual champ in 15:48. Glazier beat Shively by 13 seconds last week, so who knows what he might have done at ODAC.


While Saturday had nearly ideal conditions in some places, not everyone was so lucky. A prime example was Thursday in Quinter: Exactly 100 degrees at the start of the meet. Emma Weiner of Golden Plains won the heat-shortened 3K race in 12:36. Meanwhile, the boys team battle was brutally tight between 1A power Quinter and 2A power Hoxie. It was close, but Hoxie eeked out the win on a tiebreaker courtesy of Levi Gleason. Quinter freshman Elliot Churchwell was the individual champ in 11:43.

At the Swather Special in Hesston (where it takes more time to explain the scoring system than to run the race) Katelyn Rupe continued her introductory tour with a huge win in 18:59. Meade's Madison Sutterfield was the next-fastest girl in 20:29. Team-wise, Smoky Valley was the winners with 13 points, narrowly defeating Cheney with 15. (Again, different scoring system). Garden City had a good day for the boys, led by Josiah Munoz in 17:03. They scored 10 points to win the Large division, while Berean Academy scored 11 to win the Small division.

Lastly, at a rainy day in Wamego, 38 boys teams and 29 girls teams took on a course that's challenging enough when dry. The girls winners were about as you'd expect. Clearwater's Hayley Trotter won the 4A division, and Wabaunsee's Payton Wurtz won 321A. Eudora's girls were dominant, averaging 50 seconds faster than runner-up Southeast of Saline. Christ Prep out of KC was the 321A team winners.

For the boys, Hutch-Trinity flexed their muscles over the 321A field, winning with 75 points over Christ Prep and Marion. Yes, there's a Hutchinson Trinity and a Wichita Trinity, and both are good. Individually, Marysville junior Silas Miller was the 321A champ in 16:41. In the 4A division, Southeast of Saline torpedoed Wamego's hopes at winning at home. There wasn't a clear favorite going in, but the Trojans outscored the Red Raiders by 20, and it was the 2 and 3 runners in Brayden and Cayden Walker that sealed it. Tonganoxie's Eli Gilmore was the individual champ in 16:23, thirteen seconds ahead of Damion Jackson (SE Saline) and Brady Stegman (Wamego).


Looking ahead to next week, there are no gigantic meets like this week in Kansas, but a few teams will travel across the borders to Joplin, MO, Stillwater, OK, and Pella, IA for some competition. Otherwise, it's back to the typical small, early season meets for Kansas XC.