Countless miles pay off for cross country team
A relative cold front moved through the area recently, giving athletes prime practicing conditions, and the Tonganoxie High School cross country team made full use of those cooler pre-autumn evenings, logging countless miles of hard training last week.
Consequently, said Coach Phil Williams, by the time Thursday and the Maur Hill Invitational rolled around, many on the team were physically drained.
For two Chieftain runners, that exhaustion was compounded in the race. Sophomore Laura Korb has tendonitis in her right knee and senior Matt Needham is still recovering from illness.
But Tonganoxie High School cross country team made a strong showing last week at the meet in Atchison.
The girls took seventh and the boys took second.
The high point for the Chieftains was in the boys race, where junior Alan Davis and sophomore Kyle Norris finished one-two.
The boys team is currently ranked sixth in the state.
Davis ran the 3.1 miles in 17:35. Norris finished right behind him, running the distance in 17:49.
For the girls, Laura Korb was the high finisher, running the two-mile girls course in 12:54 and finishing fifth.
A healthy Korb ran the course in 12:03 last year, twenty seconds faster than this year's winning time.
Ailing Needham finished in 48th with a time of 20:59.
Sophomore Tony Aligo won the junior varsity boys race with a time 20:15.
Several on the team had improved performances over the previous week's race.
Senior Kristen Korb, who ran 15:20 last week, came on strong this week, turning in a time of 14:32.
Several other Chieftains turned in improved performances as well.
For two runners there was nothing to improve upon, because Maur Hill was their first varsity race.
Williams said that juniors Cara Langston and Nathan Bailey, who moved up from the junior varsity squad this week, both did well in their first races.
This week's junior varsity winner, Tony Aligo, will be the next runner to move up this week, when he travels to Lawrence with the varsity Saturday for the Jayhawk Invitational. He will run in Needham's spot.
This week the team is splitting squads and sending the junior varsity team to McLouth Thursday to compete as a varsity team.
"In the past we've usually placed fairly well there individually," Williams said. "It's good experience for the younger kids."
If Needham does run this week, it will be Thursday at McLouth, Williams said.