KC Meet of the Week: Olathe Twilight

After a week of warm-up meets, the season gets real on Saturday night. Olathe Twilight has quickly become the premiere early-season meet in Kansas and the surrounding states. This season, 41 schools will attend the meet from Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. For the boys, the race is highlighted by a trio of nationally-ranked individuals in the MileSplit50: #23 Andrew Hauser (Rock Bridge, MO), #17 Sage Wilde (Liberty North, MO), and #4 Clay Shively (Wichita Trinity, KS). The girls' race looks to be highlighted by a reloaded Olathe West squad and 3-time 6A XC champion Anjali Hocker-Singh of Olathe North.

For those that don't know, this meet is FAST. With long straightaways, no heat from the sun, and a finish on the track, these runners will be flying through the course. Expect PR's from just about everyone, and enjoy the one-of-a-kind environment.

Additionally, I personally encourage fans & athletes to stick around for awards. Many meets no longer hold an awards ceremony and just send the hardware home with coaches. In my opinion, it's a shame we've started to forego such a special part of meet day just to save time. The hard work and achievements of XC runners should be celebrated after a competition, so kudos to Olathe North for keeping that tradition alive.

Meet Information

Location: Olathe District Activities Complex (20925 159th St, Olathe, KS)
Tickets: Spectator entry is free, Parking is $10
Weather Forecast: Clear, 77, 8mph Wind, 45% Humidity

Race Schedule
5:00PM - MS Girls 3K
5:30PM - MS Boys 3K
6:00PM  -  C  Girls 5K
6:45PM  -  C  Boys 5K
7:25PM  -  JV Girls 5K

8:00PM  -  JV Boys 5K
8:30PM - Varsity Girls 5K
9:00PM - Varsity Boys 5K
9:30PM - Awards Ceremony

MS 3K Course Map    |  HS 5K Course Map

Preview & Analysis

Last year, Olathe West's girls swept 5 of the top 11 spots at this meet to win in dominating fashion. With scoring seniors Charis Robinson and Paige Baker now off to Nebraska-Kearney and K-State, the Owls lean on last year's depth to fill the top-5. Luckily, they had some of the best depth in the country in 2022. Kalyn Willingham, Liz Browning, Bree Newport, Sydney All, and Kate Miller all have top-10 potential, and are virtually interchangeable and inseparable. They all finished together last week in the order listed above, but with a pack time of 10 seconds, they can realistically have a different top runner each week.

Chasing the Owls will be their neighbors down the street, Olathe North. The Eagles have the top returner in 6A, Anjali Hocker-Singh, who will be the individual favorite. They also have a solid #2 in Shea Johnson. Additionally, keep an eye out for Avani Hocker-Singh, she is typically a hurdler but could have potential to impress based on last-name alone.

St. James Academy won't let Olathe North get away with runner-up so easily, though. They bring back a solid core from last year's team, with a 1-2-3 punch of Allie Morfeld, Katie Price and Katelyn Menghini.

A few other teams to watch are Mill Valley (led by Charlotte Caldwell) and St. Teresa's out of Missouri (led by Gracie Jacobs). Payton Fink (Washburn Rural), Lida Padgett (SM East), Isabella Ross (BV Southwest) and Mae Walker (Rock Bridge, MO) will also factor in individually.

Olathe Twilight Meet Page    |    2022 Results

On the boys side, the nationally-ranked individuals are the major headline. Sage Wilde won a wild race last year, while Clay Shively was third. Andrew Hauser will be making his first trip to the ODAC XC course on Saturday.

In head-to-head action, Wilde and Hauser have gone back and forth for years. Hauser is 11-3 all-time over Wilde, but Wilde had the upper hand at Missouri Class 5 state in both XC and the 3200 last year.

Shively, on the other hand, is more of a wild card, only racing Wilde in this meet last year, and edging out Hauser at the HOKA Festival of Miles in June. Shively also opened the season with a lackluster 5th-place finish at Wichita State last week.

Micah Blomker (Shawnee Mission North) is no slouch either. He won this meet in 2021, becoming the first athlete under 15:00 at ODAC. Parker Walion (Gardner-Edgerton) could come out with some confidence as well, after beating Shively last week.

Team-wise, Wichita Trinity is ranked #17 in the country entering this week. However, Wes Ferguson and Caleb Tofteland, their #4 and #5 runners, are not entered in the meet and did not run last week. As a small school with less than 300 students, Trinity likely doesn't have the depth to compete without two scorers.

That opens the door for Missouri powerhouse Liberty North. Wilde and company have been a force in the Show-Me state, and could walk away with a dominant victory on Saturday. Kansas' hopes likely lie with Olathe West. Can the boys replicate the pack-mentality of the girls? If so, they could find themselves in the hunt. Gardner-Edgerton and Rock Bridge also have an outside shot on the right day.