The thrill-ride that was expected for the Eastern Kansas
League cross country championships this past week was just that…and maybe a
Blue Valley Northwest freshman Riley Beach started the
fireworks in the girls' varsity race when she out-leaned the defending class 5A
state champion Olivia Sovereign of St. Thomas Aquinas for the individual title.
Beach finished in 18:31.20, the fastest time run by a Kansas
girl this week. Sovereign, a junior, was the runner-up in 18:31.60. Beach's win
established the freshman as the favorite heading into the 6A regionals and
state meet, while Sovereign will be a favorite to repeat as the 5A state
champion in a couple weeks.
But the excitement didn't end with the razor-close finish
between Beach and Sovereign. In fact, EKL runners had the top five girls' times
in Kansas this week, and 14 of the top 20.
Blue Valley North's Lily Strauss (18:53.80), St. James Academy's Sarah Murrow (18:59.20) and Blue Valley North's Sophie Scott
(19:03.90) rounded out the top five. Murrow, a sophomore, was the class 5A 3200
meter state champion last spring and Scott, a senior, was the 800 meter state
champ on the track.
The team chase featured a
battle between the team that many consider to be the best in class 5A this
season -- St. James Academy -- and the team considered by most to be the best
right now in class 6A -- Blue Valley North. Murrow's St. James Academy girls continued their dominating
season with an impressive win over Blue Valley North.
St. James Academy put together a pack time of 1:12 and
scored 46 points to edge Blue Valley North, which had 53 points. St. James had
four runners ahead of Blue Valley North's third runner to key the victory.
Mill Valley's girls, a strong contender for the 5A crown as
well, placed third with 83 points while five-time defending 5A state champion
St. Thomas Aquinas was fourth with 94.
The boys' race in the Eastern Kansas League didn't lack for
excitement, either, even though St. Thomas Aquinas continued its dominating
ways. Junior Ethan Marshall won the individual title with the week's best time
of 15:47.10 -- the only Kansas runner to dip under 16:00 this week.
St. James Academy's Jack Moore was the runner-up in 16:06.70
and St. Thomas Aquinas' Reece Jones placed third in 16:17.10. Those were the
second and third best times in Kansas this week. EKL boys had 12 of the state's
top 20 times this week.
St. Thomas Aquinas, which scored a nifty 34 points, beat out
Mill Valley (61 points), St. James Academy (79) and Blue Valley Southwest (87).
Those four teams are probably the top four in class 5A this season, except
there's a catch: All four of those teams will run in the same regional next
week, and only three will qualify for state.
Around the state…
Rain threatened to cancel several meets this week, but it
appears that everyone got their races in by Saturday. The Sunflower League
moved its Saturday meet to Friday, and put on a pretty good show, as well.
Katie Kasunic of Shawnee Mission North led her team to the
Sunflower League girls' title, winning the individual race in 19:31.60. Claire Fuhlhage of Olathe North placed second in 19:54.70. Shawnee Mission North
scored 36 points to edge Olathe North, which had 40.
The Sunflower League boys' individual race was a battle
between three juniors. Leavenworth's Daniel Bohnemann out-sprinted Olathe
North's Jackson Caldwell to win in 16:27.70. Calwell was second in 16:29.80
while Gardner-Edgerton's Trent Cochran, runner-up in class 6A last year, was
third in 16:36.00.
Olathe East won the boys' team title convincingly in the Sunflower League, scoring 49 points.
Shawnee Mission North and Olathe North scored 89 points, but Shawnee Mission
North got the runner-up spot based on the sixth runner tiebreaker.
Matthew Harding and his Bishop Carroll teammates ran away
with the Greater Wichita Athletics League titles. Harding won the individual
race in 16:43 and teammate Wayne Hesse was second in 16:50. Bishop Carroll
scored 23 points to easily beat runner-up Wichita North (60).
Bishop Carroll also swept the GWAL girls' titles. Junior
Claire Winter clocked 19:57 for a 33 second victory, and her team had 41 points
to beat Kapaun Mt. Carmel (71) and Wichita East (78).
The Centennial League combined its JV and varsity races and
beat the Saturday rainstorm in Topeka by minutes. Manhattan rolled to its
eighth consecutive sweep of the boys and girls team titles, with Cooper Schroeder (16:22.90) and Clara Mayfield (19:21.40) winning the individual
titles. Washburn Rural, the Topeka City League champs the week before, was the
runner up in both divisions.
A pretty good race took place at the Southeast Kansas League
meet where Independence junior Renee Trout won in 19:04.00. Trout, who is a
leading contender to win the class 4A state championship in two weeks, had the
sixth best time in Kansas with her finish. At the league meet, she out-ran
Pittsburg's McKenzie Wilks, a pretty good runner in her own right, who clocked
Among the other girls individual league champions this week
were Elizabeth Kettler of Hiawatha (Big 7 League), Halle Johnson of Bennington
(Heart of America League), Trinity Moore of Louisburg (Frontier League), Hannah Honeyman of Santa Fe Trail (Pioneer League), Hannah Nuest of Buhler (AVCTL
Div. 3), Aimee Davis of Clearwater (AVCTL Div. 4), and Olivia Kuckelman of
Axtell (Twin Valley League).
Additional league champions for the boys this week include
Justin Hodge of Hiawatha (Big 7 League), Jack Thomas of Scott Community (Great
West Activities Conference), Sam Hubert of DeSoto (Frontier League), Brodric Shirley
of Frankfort (Twin Valley League), Reno Lemon of Chanute (Southeast Kansas
League), Kerby Depenbusch of Great Bend (Western Athletic Conference), and
Ethan Thompson of Meade (Hi-Plains).
Results of most of Kansas schools' league meets are
available on ks.milesplit.com. We did not receive results from every league in
the state yet, so if you do not see your school's results, please contact a
coach and ask them to send in their league results. We will update with new
results as we receive them.
Original electronic files of results should be sent to Jim
Madison, email@example.com, and Pat