Basking in the glow
Cross country runners qualify for National AAU Meet at Disney World
Nathan Bailey, Tommy Powell and Kyle Norris, you just qualified for the AAU National Cross Country Meet. What are you going to do next?
"We're going to Disney World."
The three Tonganoxie cross country runners didn't make this Disney commercial, but they did qualify for the National AAU Cross Country Championships on Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla. at the Disney World Sports Complex.
Bailey, Powell and Norris qualified for the event after placing at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on Nov. 11 in Garnett.
Norris was 12th with a time of 17 minutes, 28 seconds. Powell was 25th with an 18:24 time, and Bailey took 27th at 18:55.
Last year's AAU championship was on Dec. 2 in Joplin, Mo. Bailey finished 115th in the young men's division, while Norris was 130th in the intermediate division. Powell missed qualifying by one spot. Bailey said last year's conditions weren't the best.
"It was freezing," Bailey said.
In Orlando, Norris has a different agenda.
"We'll be working on our tans," he said.
The AAU qualifications come almost a month after the three competed at the state meet near Wamego.
Norris took eighth, while Bailey was 21st and Powell was 30th. Tonganoxie took second as a team at state.
Norris, Bailey and Powell run with the Brocaw Blazers, a running club based in the Midwest that competes in various national and regional competitions.
After another year of competition, Norris looks for a much better result.
"Last year it was more of an experience," Norris said.
Norris, 17, will compete in the 17-18 division with Bailey, 18. Powell, who is 16, will be in the 15-16 division.
"I'll finish right in the middle," Powell said.
Some of the top runners in the state, such as state champion Matt Noonan of Baldwin, will also be in Florida. Noonan won the MVC championship.
Norris said the field would obviously be difficult in Orlando.
"I'll try to get in the top 20," Norris said. "It's a dead-out sprint to be in the top 20."
Senior Alan Davis, who took 13th at state, will be competing in the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Championships on Saturday in Kenosha, Wis.
Norris and Bailey also took first and third respectively in the USA Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Shawnee Mission Park. Both qualified for Nationals in that event, but no date has been set.