Team heads to State
A familiar leader was back for the Tonganoxie cross country team.
Senior Alan Davis, who had slightly struggled in his last three meets, finished fourth at the 4A Regional in Topeka last Saturday with a time of 17 minutes, 26 seconds.
"I felt stronger," Davis said. "I just wasn't mentally prepared lately. I did a lot of focusing.
"I had to get my confidence up from the last races. That's hard to do."
The boys as a team were one point away from regional winner Wamego. Wamego had 54 points, Tonganoxie tallied 55 and Clay Center finished with 58.
Junior Kyle Norris, who had taken Davis' spot as the team's top runner as of late, finished in 13th with an 18:24 time. A normal Norris finish would have probably made THS the regional champions. The junior said he had a headache and tiredness last Saturday, but planned for a different result at State on Saturday.
"It made me mad," Norris said of his finish. "I need to take it out at State."
With Norris finishing lower, the Chieftains filled the void with junior Tommy Powell's ninth-place finish (18:03) and senior Nathan Bailey's 12th-place effort. Junior Tony Aligo was 17th, while senior Bryan Gurss, who won the Kaw Valley League junior varsity meet Oct. 11, placed 20th at regionals. Senior David Saultz was 39th.
"Tommy Powell ran a super race," THS coach Phil Williams said. "That was his best performance ever."
The boys' seven regional runners will compete as a team at State on Saturday near Wamego. Junior Laura Korb and senior Alicia Stauch will run as individuals for the girls.
The girls finished fifth as a team and only the top three teams advance to State, but Korb finished seventh (13:28) and Stauch placed 16th (14:02) and qualified for the state's top meet.
"The girls ran a good race," Williams said. "We just don't have the horses others do."
Korb, who finished fifth in last year's regional race with a 13:13 time, said she is stronger overall this season.
"I'm doing a lot better this year," Korb said.
Korb looked at the regional meet as a preliminary race to State, much like preliminaries are in track to finals.
"You want to run hard enough," Korb said. "But you don't want to hurt yourself and be sore all week."
The 4A girls' State Meet will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, while the boys run at 11:30 a.m.