Wichita Trinity practices their pack running at Bishop Carroll
(Photo by J Hobson)
Another week of Kansas XC is in the books. There were a scattering of small and medium-sized meets across the state this week, along with a few big meets across state lines.
To lead things off, we have Thursday's Halstead Invite. With 14 boys and 10 girls teams scoring, this was about as big of a meet as you'll find in week 5. Despite the deep field, though, Southeast of Saline still ran away with it. Nineteen points, a 1-2-3-4 finish, and a commanding 59-point victory over 2A #2 Marion. Marion's second place finish was significant for the Warriors, though, since they knocked off previous 2A favorite Hutch-Trinity by 4 points. For the girls, Hayley Trotter strung out the field for a victory in 18:56, while Circle freshman Brett Jacobson took the runner-up spot. Southeast of Saline won the meet with 56 points, defeating Cheney.
Next up is a Bishop Carroll's Saturday meet. Great Bend's girls pulled off a spectacular win over Kapaun Mt. Carmel by just 1 point, 50-51. The individual race was led by a pair of freshmen in Trinity's Brecken Howell (19:33) and Kapaun's Taylor Barringer (19:40). In a battle of some of the state's best teams, Wichita Trinity's boys took down Kapaun Mt. Carmel by twenty points. Trinity, just a 3A school, easily has the best small-school team in the nation, and they just keep getting better. This solidly puts Trinity as the second-best team in all classes, just behind Shawnee Mission East. It will be interesting to see if these two meet again at the Nike Heartland Regional in November.
Speaking of Shawnee Mission East, some may be wondering where they were this week. The Lancers traveled out-of-state to the Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival, where they took 8th place in the field of 63 teams. Wyatt Haughton led their charge with a 3rd place finish in 14:53. On the girls side, Olathe West took 3rd as a team, led by Charis Robinson's 11th place finish in 17:51.
The traditional meet for Kansas City Area schools, however, was the KC XC Classic hosted by Rey-Pec in Missouri. 29 boys and girls teams were present, but teams from Missouri took both team titles. The individuals, though, those titles belonged to Kansas. Anjali Hocker-Singh reclaimed her bragging rights with a victory over SM South's Hannah Gibson. Her time of 18:16 was 16 seconds ahead of Gibson's runner-up finish. For the boys, it was Aquinas senior Colby King, pulling away from Olathe East's Carter Stewart to win in 15:31. Stewart finished in 15:46, and Gardner-Edgerton's Parker Walion was third in 16:00.
A few KC-Area schools made the trip to Baldwin to face some non-KC competition at the Maple Leaf Invite. Shawnee Mission Northwest, led by Paige Mullen, ran away with the girls team title. The boys had a little more of a challenge, winning by just two points over a Micah Blomker-led Shawnee Mission North team.
Shawnee Heights's boys and Seaman's girls won the Seaman Invite. Grace Hanson of Piper ran a season-best 18:27 to win the girls division, while Lenny Njoroge of Topeka West posted a 15:45 to win the boys.
Katelyn Rupe continued to show that she has no limits, this time PR'ing in 17:26 to win at Junction City.
Council Grove was the other bigger meet within the state borders this week, hosting 16 schools. On the girls side, Osage City's Emory Speece came out in front early to build a sizeable lead. Olpe's Lilly Skalsky and Council Grove's Jordyn Picolet closed the gap late, though, and it was anybody's race with 300 meters left. Speece would hold on to win in 20:10, followed by Picolet and then Skalsky. These three have met twice before, with a different finishing order each time. Osage City also won the team title by two points over Riley County.
For the boys, Chapman won a surprisingly uneventful boys race over Santa Fe Trail. The Irish looked strong with Drew Elliott and Darren Klukas in the top-5. Council Grove's Lakoddah Downs was the runaway overall winner in 16:31.
Coming up this week, we are already looking at the final weekend of the regular season. The Heartland XC Relay Carnival is always a fun event during this week, as some teams like to take a less-intense week before the league-regional-state triplet to come. The Topeka schools certainly don't take a down week, though, as they will have their City Championships on Saturday. Riley County, Salina, and Wichita Trinity will all host some classic late-season meets as well.