Boys can’t top Baldwin, take third
Bulldog boys claim fifth straight title; girls also take first
Saturday's state cross country meet in Wamego showed some strong contrasts to regionals a week before in Tonganoxie.
Chieftain senior Kyle Norris finally finished ahead of Mill Valley senior Jay Matlack. Norris and fellow senior Tony Aligo finished ahead of Baldwin's entire fleet, while senior Tommy Powell finished 28th.
But, the deeper Bulldogs finished ahead of Tonganoxie overall, taking 13th (Phil Wagner), 22nd (Keith Cowart) 23rd (Zac Towns), 26th (Brian Gerstner) and 32nd (Sam Hinton). With 84 points, Baldwin won its fifth consecutive Class 4A state title.
"In the back of our minds, we thought we could beat Baldwin," Williams said. "But we weren't deep enough to beat Baldwin."
Towns and Cowart took second and third respectively at regionals, but once again the Bulldogs finished high enough collectively in Wamego for another team title.
Tonganoxie, meanwhile, nabbed third with 128. Clearwater was second with 102.
The Chieftains finished with their second state plaque in as many years. Last year, Tonganoxie took second. But this year, the senior-led Chieftains couldn't attain their preseason goal winning a state championship.
"That's a little disappointing," said Norris, who finished the course in 16 minutes, 50 seconds.
Norris said the first half-mile was so important in gaining position. With so many runners, that first stretch always is tough. But when the last mile of his high school career was in front of him, Norris said he, like his teammates, responded.
"That last mile was all guts," Norris said.
The Chieftains had five other runners compete Saturday. Corey Brest was 51st (18:07), Andy Kolman 77th (18:43), Matt Chenoweth 94th (19:30) and Levi Huseman 101st (20:15).
Runners were met with overcast skies, a little rain and some cold weather Saturday, but Aligo said that didn't make a major difference.
"During the race it wasn't cold at all," Aligo said.
Competing in his final high school meet, Aligo wasn't concerned with the weather. In the final 400 yards, the senior kicked his speed up, passing eight runners for the seventh-place finish.
Along with Aligo, Norris and Powell, seniors Matt Depetre and Mark O'Brien won't be back next season.
THS coach Phil Williams said next season certainly would be a change.
"They're going to be real tough to replace," Williams said. "We've got a good group of sophomores, along with Corey, who's a freshman.
"They'll have to put in a lot of miles in the offseason."
Korb cracks top 20; Helm takes 67th
The fourth and final installment of Laura Korb's state participation came with a 20th-place finish Saturday in Wamego.
Korb, who has competed in Wamego all four of her prep years, finished the course with a 12:49 time.
"I definitely think I ran harder this year because it was my last year," Korb said.
Helm, who is a junior, came across the finish line with a 13:58 time.
Korb doesn't plan to run at the collegiate level, but she assembled a decent career while in high school. After taking fifth as a freshman, she finished 22nd as a sophomore and 24th as a junior. This year, she qualified for a medal again with her No. 20 finish.
The lone senior said she will miss running, something she started to realize during the league meet more than two weeks ago.
"When I was at the league meet I felt bad," Korb said. "I started crying and then the other girls started crying."