Rim Rock Farm XC Classic Previews: Boys Gold
The Varsity Boys Gold Race will be a hot race out front. It will feature KS #1, 3, 4, 10, 13, 14, and 15 as well as MO #1, 2, 5, 6, and 11. From Kansas it will be top ranked Angel Vasquez, Gage Garcia, and Sam Guinn hoping to make their mark in the stacked race. Vasquez has been off to a hot start after a great junior year where he won the State Titles in the 1600 and 3200 on the track as well as the state Cross Title in the fall.
Vasquez started off his season placing third behind MO #2 and 5 Simon Belete and Steven Mugeche, who both will be in Gold Race on Saturday. Vasquez was only 4 seconds behind Mugeche and has only improved from Greg Wilson winning the Wamego Invitational in 16:04 and then crushing a state-leading 15:34 at the Bonner Springs Invitational. KS# 3 Gage Garcia has only one race in our database from this fall, but that was at the Bishop Carroll Invitational over some of the states best runners.
He has a 9:30 3200 PR to his name, the fastest returner in Kansas, so he should be looking strong and competing for a top spot on Saturday. Lastly, Sam Gunn, the Blue Valley Northwest junior is coming off a very impressive sophomore year where he 4:17 and 9:34 on the track. With his foot speed one of the best, if he can hang with the leaders through 2 miles, he should be a factor for the finish. Other runners from Kansas to watch include Stuart McNutt, Tristyn Villa, James Hampton and Josh Hanna.
Missouri will be sending some of their best in Noah Kauppila, Simon Belete and Stephen Mugeche. Kauppila, the #1 ranked runner according to the popular Big River Running Company Rankings, is not only one of the best runners in Missouri, but the whole Midwest. After a sensational freshman year, Kauppila, the Marquette senior, only improved placing 4th in the 4A State Championships last fall, placed 14th at Footlocker Midwest, and then went on to win the State 3200 Meter Title in a blistering 9:11.
Noah is coming off a very impressive win at the Forest Park XC Festival over some of the top runners in the Missouri and Illinois. With PRs of 4:16, 9:11 and 15:18, and a 4th place finish her last year, Kauppila is a definitely a favorite for Saturday. Simon Belete, the Blue Springs senior should give Kauppila and the field a run for their money, though. Belete blasted a 15:53 at Greg Wilson to beat his teammate and #5 ranked Steven Mugeche by 31 seconds and KS #1 ranked Angel Vasquez by 35.
He also won the Blue Spring Invitational beating Mugeche by 4 seconds and KS# 6 Colton Donahue by 19 seconds. Belete has an impressive 9:17 3200 Meter and definitely should be in the mix at Rim Rock. His teammate Mugeche is coming off a sensational freshman year where he ran sensational times of 4:25 and 9:26, making him the 12th fastest freshman 3200 Runner in the Nation last year.
Mugeche has stuck well to his teammate this year and should definitely be a factor. Other people to watch from Missouri include Kaupilla’s teammate Adam Roderique, and 4:11 miler Amos Bartlelsmeyer.
On the team side, look for Blue Springs as a favorite. Many others should be looking for top finishes including DeSoto, Wichita North and St. Thomas Aquinas from KS, Central (St. Joseph), Marquette and Rockhurst from MO, and Creighton Prep from NE.