Perfect weather delivers perfect day of running
Partly cloudy skies, a moderate temperature and a slight breeze were the perfect weather conditions for runners at last Thursday's Tonganoxie Invitational.
And the races were proof of that, with 10 runners breaking course records
The Tonganoxie High School cross country team had several strong performances in the meet, including three finishes under the course record, two race wins and two team victories.
In the varsity boys race, Tonganoxie dominated the overall competition, winning the meet 19 points ahead of second-place Bonner Springs.
In the race, junior Alan Davis beat his own course record of 16:47 by 35 seconds, winning with a time of 16:12.
Favorable conditions and strong competition prevailed and the next four finishers also broke the old course record.
Sophomore Kyle Norris finished in third place with a time of 16:37.
Finishing in the next two spots for the Chieftains were Tommy Powell in 17:50 for 13th and Nathan Bailey in 17:53 for 15th.
Sophomore Tony Aligo took 22nd, running 18:22; junior Brian Gurss took 32nd, running 18:24 and junior David Saultz took 54, running 19:42.
In the varsity girls race, the Chieftains placed third behind the strong race of sophomore Laura Korb, who broke her own course record of 12:28 by 24 seconds.
But, like in the boys race, the top five finishers all beat the course record and Korb's 12:04 was only good enough for second place.
McLouth's Courtney Edmonds won the race, setting the new course record at 11:50.
Finishing next for Tonganoxie was junior Alicia Stauch, who took 15th with a time of 13:15.
Junior Erin Seymour took 20th, running the two miles in 13:29.
Senior Kristin Korb took 30th for the Chieftains, running 13:39. Junior Sarah Mages finished right behind her, taking 31st with a time of 13:51.
Senior Aubrey Mikijanis took 41st with a time of 14:30, and junior Cara Langston ran 14:47, which was good for 51st.
In the junior varsity boys race, the Chieftains edged Bonner Springs by five points to win the team competition.
Possibly the biggest performance of the day came from senior Matt Needham in that race.
Regaining strength after being sick early in the season, Needham ran the junior varsity race, and smoked the competition, beating second place by more than a minute.
Coach Phil Williams said that Needham had been working hard to get back in shape to end his high school career on a high note.
He won the race with a time of 17:57.
Two strong freshmen wrapped up the next Chieftain finishes.
Ben Brest continued his excellent freshman season, taking third in the race with a time of 19:15.
Tyler Davidson took 13th, running 19:54.
Sophomore Brian Gravatt took 17th with a time of 20:11, sophomore Josh Dowdle took 27th with a time of 21:55 and sophomore Justin Palmer took 36th with a time of 24:08.
In the junior varsity girls race, Elizabeth Smith was the Chieftain's lone entrant. She took 14th with a time of 15:16.
Coach Williams said he expected his team to keep improving because ever-toughening practices have been pushing the team's endurance but keeping runners from maximum freshness.
The team is putting in eight miles a day on Mondays and Tuesdays.
"We still aren't real fresh," he said. "But in a couple of weeks we'll start cutting back."
Williams said this would help his runners reach peak running form, both in endurance and in freshness, at the end of the season for post-season competition.
This week the varsity squad travels to Gardner for its race at 4:15 p.m. That same day the junior varsity will run at 4 p.m. in Lansing.