Runners look for more of same next year
The Tonganoxie cross country team had one last night to honor this year's season with a team banquet Thursday in the THS cafeteria.
A table displaying the year's trophies greeted athletes and guests at the cafeteria's entrance, and runners were introduced and honored.
The team had its share of honors.
For the boys, 2001 marked the highest state finish since 1991 when the Chieftains won State.
THS finished second this year, eight points behind Baldwin. Tonganoxie won every regular season race but the high school invitational at Rim Rock near Lawrence, where the team finished eighth against mostly 6A and 5A schools.
The Chieftains then won the Kaw Valley League title for the sixth straight year, and followed with second-place finishes at Regionals and State.
"That's the most successful we've been in some seasons," said THS coach Phil Williams.
Support from fans might have helped, according to Williams.
He said the team had the strongest support of any school he's seen.
"Everywhere we go we see Tonganoxie people," Williams said.
Junior Kyle Norris and senior Alan Davis led the Chieftains on the boys' side. The two finished eighth and 13th respectively at State and both were named to the Lawrence Journal-World's all-area team.
Junior Laura Korb also had that distinction on the girls' side, leading Tonganoxie in every race and placing 22nd at State.
The girls didn't qualify as a team at State, but Korb and Alicia Stauch represented THS at Wamego. The team did finish second at the KVL meet in Leavenworth and defeated Mill Valley four times the Jaguars qualified for State in another regional.
The Chieftains lose four seniors, but will return Korb and Elizabeth Smith. With only 10 runners this year, Williams will try recruiting more runners for next year.
"It would be nice to have a couple more," Williams said.
The boys will lose four seniors as well, but Williams looks for a strong year in 2002.
"On paper we lose a lot," Williams said. "We have four experienced runners coming back and a great freshman class."
The Chieftains won every junior varsity race this year, which may be a preview of future seasons. Williams also looks for Baldwin and regional winner Wamego to be even with both teams losing most of their top seven placers.
"It's wide open," Williams said.
This year, though, was still on the team's mind last Thursday. Williams introduced and thanked his team and assistant coach Kathy Cox. Gifts were presented to players and coaches, and juniors roasted their outgoing seniors.
Individual recognition was also announced as Alan Davis and Laura Korb were named runners of the year. Junior Tommy Powell and freshman Levi Huseman tied for mileage leaders for the boys, while Alicia Stauch earned the honor on the girls' side.