Gardner too much for THS
Tonganoxie was close to defeating defending cross country state champion Gardner-Edgerton on Thursday at the Blazers' home course.
But a late Gardner-Edgerton push helped the home team stave off the visiting Chieftains.
THS senior Andy Kolman had the lead for about 2 1/2 miles, but he couldn't hang on in the last half-mile as two Gardner-Edgerton runners finished ahead of him.
Kolman placed third with a time of 17 minutes, 27 seconds.
Gardner-Edgerton finished with 42 points, while Tonganoxie was second with 51.
"I thought maybe our boys could beat Gardner," THS coach Phil Williams said. "I thought we could if we would have ran really well. They're pretty tough."
Not that the Chieftains were sloppy. Williams thought his team performed well as six runners finished in the top 20 out of 39 runners.
Levi Huseman placed sixth with an 18:20 time, while Justin Smith finished 12th in 18:47. Brett Garrett finished 14th in 18:54, while Colin Perkins was close behind in 16th with an 18:59 time.
Matt Chenoweth placed 18th (19:07) and Colt Coffin 23rd (19:39).
Tonganoxie finished second on what Williams called a "real different course."
The wooded course repeats itself several times, compared to others that wind around on a larger piece of land.
The boys will compete Thursday at the Mill Valley Invitational at Shawnee Mission Park. Races begin at 4 p.m.
THS then has its last tune-up before regionals next week with the Kaw Valley League meet on the University of St. Mary campus in Leavenworth.
The only KVL team Tonganoxie hasn't faced yet is Bonner Springs.
"They're certainly good," Williams said. "If we don't run well, they could beat us."
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Christy Weller just missed another meet win in the girls race. The freshman took second at Gardner with a 13:12 time.
The Chieftains overall finished third out of seven teams. Eudora finished first with a score of 31 as Gardner placed second with 55. Tonganoxie's score was 61.
All of Tonganoxie's runners finished in the top 20 out of 38 runners.
Jennifer Wagner was Tonganoxie's No. 2 runner with a 10th-place finish. Her time was 14:29. Megan Holton finished 15th with a 15:14 time, while Kait Saathoff was 16th with a 15:23 time. Kelley Stauch placed 18th for the Chieftains (15:28), while Kezia Huseman was 19th (15:29).
The Chieftains now will turn their attention to the Mill Valley Invitational on Thursday at Shawnee Mission Park.
And next week, the Chieftains will compete at the Kaw Valley League meet.
Mill Valley and Lansing are the teams to beat. With De Soto now in the Frontier League, Williams thinks Tonganoxie's girls could take third behind Mill Valley and LHS, although the Lions have run short-handed this season.
"Lansing only has five runners," Williams said. "Lansing hasn't had a full team several times this season.