Boys stay unbeaten with home title; girls fourth
For the fourth time in as many tries, the Tonganoxie High boys cross country team failed to take the top individual spot.
But, once again, that didn't matter. The Chieftains captured their home invitational Thursday, winning the meet with 43 points. Second-place Mill Valley had 60 points, while Anderson County was third in the invitational that had 20 schools represented.
Tonganoxie won the team title thanks to three finishes in the top six Kyle Norris in second (16:02), Tommy Powell in fourth (16:45) and Tony Aligo sixth (16:59) For the third consecutive race, Kyle Norris was the Chieftains' top runner. This time, though, Norris received more prizes than just a second-place medal. The senior turned 18 Thursday and was also presented a birthday medal and three helium-filled balloons, most notably a large Clifford the dog balloon.
The eventful day came with some tribulations, though. Hotter weather left Norris with cottonmouth.
"Your throat starts to burn," Norris said. "It hurts."
Norris also had dehydration problems after his Rim Rock race Sept. 21 near Lawrence, as did teammate Levi Huseman. After struggling to finish at Rim Rock, Huseman sat out last Thursday's meet, but is expected to return for the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational this Thursday.
"We didn't want to chance it," THS coach Phil Williams said.
Last Thursday, other Chieftains contributed in Huseman's absence. Corey Brest finished in 14th with a 17:48 time, while Andy Kolman was 19th with an 18:02 time.
So far, half of Tonganoxie's meets have been at home, and the team learned Thursday that it would be the host for a 4A regional Oct. 26.
Norris said running at home can be a double-edged sword.
"It gets to you when you think you have the advantage," Norris said. "It's real hard to stay focused. We have to keep in our minds it is possible to lose."
After Tonganoxie's meet at 5A Gardner-Edgerton, the Chieftains have just two meets before regionals Oct. 10 at De Soto and Oct. 17 at the Kaw Valley League meet.
Girls cross country
The Chieftains finished fourth, but Williams anticipated a higher placing.
"We had hoped to get second or third," Williams said. "We have got some work to do."
Tonganoxie finished with 95 points, 38 points behind invitational champion De Soto. McLouth was second with 74 points; Mill Valley took third with 81.
Laura Korb again was Tonganoxie's highest finisher. She took second behind McLouth's Courtney Edmonds with a 12:27 time. Edmonds, who set the Tonganoxie Invitational record with an 11:50 time in 2000, finished with a 12:15 time this year.
Elizabeth Smith also placed for the Chieftains, finishing in 21st with a 13:50 time. Michelle McWilliams was 26th, running the course in 13:58 for THS. Heather Helm was 29th for the Chieftains' other team score.
Tonganoxie will also head to Gardner-Edgerton on Thursday for the Trailblazers' invitational.