Mother Nature showed her gentle side for a few days as
Kansas runners staged an all-out assault on the state's top times list in Week
3 of the 2016 season.
Cailie Logue of Girard, currently the No. 2 ranked female
runner in the country by MileSplit US, made the Missouri Southern course in Joplin
her personal playground once again, rolling to victory in a new state-leading
time of 17:18.
It beat her own time of 17:20 at her home meet last week,
and is a personal best for a regular season high school meet. She ran 17:12 and
17:14 at the Nike Heartland Regional and Nike Nationals, respectively, last
Also at Joplin, Manhattan's Cara Melgares moved to fourth on
the state's top times list, clocking 18:40, and Blue Valley West's Kalea Chu
moved into the No. 8 spot at 18:58.
As impressive as Logue was in the girls' race, she may have
been topped by Spring Hills' Dylan Brenneman, who fought valiantly for the win
in the boys' race before settling for a state-leading time of 15:26 -- good for
third Saturday at Joplin. It is 39 seconds better than any other Kansas runner
has posted this year for 5K.
Brenneman moved with the lead pack of about eight runners
early, hung on when that was cut in half, and wasn't dropped from the front
until there was about 1200 meters to the finish. Considered a huge favorite to win
the class 4A title this year -- he was the runner-up last year -- Brenneman's
effort is now the standard for Kansas boys in all divisions.
Joplin's championship-level course was certainly giving up
fast times on Saturday, despite overnight rains that made the course a little
softer but did not create the puddles seen in past years.
In the boys' race, six of the top 9 times in Kansas were
posted at Joplin. After Brenneman, runners who put their stamp on the state's honor
roll include Olathe East's Will Tindall (16:05) and Ben Kahnk (16:09); and
Manhattan's Cooper Schroeder (16:15), Logan Logback (16:20) and Matthew
Among Kansas teams, the juiciest storyline was the Manhattan
boys' one-point margin over Olathe East for third place.
Manhattan had placed itself firmly in the 6A state
championship picture before Joplin, but beating the Hawks -- who have looked
dominant in early-season meets -- is a good indication that Manhattan's Pack
mentality is legitimate. The Indians' pack time amongst the chaos of 300-plus
runners was 28 seconds with an average time of 16:28 (including six runners at
sub-17:00). Olathe East's average was 16:27, but its' pack time was 1:01 as the
Hawks lost several places late in the race.
Well, I happened to be in Joplin to witness the carnage on
the top times list, so that was my lead for this week. But rest assured, there
was some vicious racing going on in many other places.
St. Thomas Aquinas' boys have not shied from any
competition, and on Saturday they beat some very good teams from the
surrounding region. The Saints won the Heartland Classic in Ames, Iowa by a
single point, 107-108 over Edina (Minn.) High School.
In addition to Edina, an annual title contender at the Nike
Heartland Regionals each November, Aquinas beat regional powerhouses Fremont
(Nebraska) and Dowling Catholic (Des Moines, Iowa).
Rain forced meet officials to re-direct the course, and the
result was that it measured about one-tenth of a mile short of 5K -- 4835
meters, they said. That's kind of a bummer for Aquinas seniors Will Cole and
Alex Gill, who put up fast times Saturday.
Cole was third in the race with a time of 15:08 while Gill
was ninth in 15:23. Add 35-40 seconds to their time to make up for the short
course, and they would be sitting as the second and third best times in Kansas
In the same meet, Shawnee Mission Northwest's Molly Born
thumped the girls field with a time of 17:09, winning by 47 seconds. Projecting
her 5K time to about 17:50, it would be Born's second-fastest 5K on record --
next to the 17:28 she ran at the Nike Heartland Regional last year.
Marcelo Cruz of Dodge City had the state's top time for boys
after Thursday's Hays Invitational, outdueling a pair of rivals from Garden
City to win in 16:10. Runner-up Marcus Tula of Garden City was second on the
list after posting a time of 16:22.
Emily Venters of Lawrence Free State led a 1-2-3 sweep of
the girls race at the Baldwin Invitational, winning in 18:35. It is the 16h
time on record that Venters has run sub-19:00 for 5K since 2013. She was
followed Saturday by teammates Kiran Cordes (19:20) and Abby Zenger (20:11).
Bennington's Halle Johnson and Kya Johnson got in on the
fun, too. They posted the second and fourth best times in the Class 2A girls
division as they marched to a 1-2 finish in their home invitational. Halle won
in 19:25 while Kya was the runner-up in 19:29. Autumn Princ of Sylvan was third
in the race, putting up the best time in Class 1A girls this season (20:16).
Jack Thomas of Scott Community won the Hugoton Invitational
Saturday with a Class 3A leading time of 16:36.
THE FINISH LINE…
Well, I'll keep giving it the 'ole college try, but I've
missed a few times recently in forecasting some of the weekend's top races. I've
looked at the schedules, looked at which teams were scheduled to compete, and
set the stage for some individual battles to watch for.
Unfortunately, the list of scheduled teams doesn't always
work out. For various reasons -- and I'm certain they're all good -- coaches
either take their teams somewhere else, or sit key runners for certain
I have really appreciated an occasional email from coaches
with information about certain meets. Please keep that coming. I'm still in the
early stages of doing this for MileSplit and it certainly helps to build up the
contacts that will help us cover Kansas cross country at a very high level.
Pat Melgares recaps
the Kansas cross country scene each Sunday at around 12 noon. Coaches: Please
send results of your home meets by email as soon as possible so that we can
keep the state's statistics up to date. Please email Pat Melgares, melgares@LetsGoRun.com, or Jim
Madison, firstname.lastname@example.org. We need
PDF, Excel or HTML files, preferably in scoring software. Please do not send
scanned copies or photographs of results.