Boys, girls cross country teams statebound in same year for first time since 1991
Tonganoxie accomplished something it hadn't done in 14 years -- send both cross country teams to the state meet in Wamego.
Both teams finished third at Saturday's Class 4A regional in Hiawatha, which reserved the Chieftain squads a shot at the state team title.
The girls scored 115 points at regionals, good for the third and final team spot. Eudora won the meet with 35 and De Soto placed second with 49.
The boys team also placed third, even though Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs both scored 93 points. As a tiebreaker, the team with the better finishing No. 6 runner is awarded the higher place. Bonner Springs' No. 6 runner finished 25th. Tonganoxie's Garrett Kelly was the Chieftains' No. 6 runner in 39th. Therefore, Bonner Springs placed second and Tonganoxie third. De Soto won the meet with 42.
Although the boys have advanced as a team several times since winning the state title in 1991, the girls haven't been to state as a team since that year.
"We were pretty happy," THS coach Phil Williams said. "We felt like we had a chance to do that, but you never know how that will come out."
In the girls race, Christy Weller advanced to the state meet for the second time. The sophomore finished fourth with a time of 12 minutes, 45 seconds. Jennifer Wagner was a few places behind. She took ninth with a 13:18 time.
Also placing for the Chieftains were Kayla Leffert in 33rd (14:14), Megan Holton 35th (14:20), Kaitylyn Saathoff in 37th (14:27), Katie Chenoweth 39th (14:28) and Kelley Stauch 40th (14:31).
"I think our girls probably put together their best team race all year," Williams said. "Jennifer Wagner had an extremely good race. Everybody else certainly was above average.
"Kayla Leffert ran real well."
The same could be said in the boys race.
Although Tonganoxie was 33 points ahead of fourth-place Perry-Lecompton in the girls standings, the boys team had quite the fight for position.
Jeff West placed fourth with 95 and Eudora fifth with 97.
Freshman Matt Brock followed Weller's footsteps by advancing to state as a freshman. Brock placed fifth with a time of 17:30.
Colin Perkins, who occasionally has been Tonganoxie's No. 2 runner this year, placed eighth as Tonganoxie's second runner Saturday. He finished just eight seconds behind Brock.
"Colin ran extremely well," Williams said. "He's just now starting to reach his potential a little bit. Garrett Kelly ran extremely well. He ran his third varsity race. He ran really well."
Colt Coffin placed 19th with an 18:10 time, while John Davis placed 23rd in 18:22.
David Powell placed 38th with an 18:58, while Kelly was a second behind him in 39th. Chris Downs finished 58th for THS with a 19:49 time.
Tonganoxie will take its two full teams Saturday morning to Wamego where 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A classes will run on the Wamego Golf Course.
The 4A girls will start at 11:30 a.m., and the boys will run at 12:30 p.m.
Perhaps the Chieftains' ride home from Wamego will be similar to the journey back from Hiawatha.
"They were really excited about it," Williams said about regionals. "It was a fun bus ride home."
1. De Soto, 42; 2. Bonner Springs, 93; 3. Tonganoxie, 93; 4. Jeff West, 95; 5. Eudora, 97; 6. Royal Valley, 195; 7. Hayden, 197; 8. Hiawatha, 222; 9. Piper, 250; 10. Holton, 257; 11. Perry-Lecompton, 283; 12. Marysville, 298.
Individual THS results
5. Matt Brock, 17:30; 8. Colin Perkins, 17:38; 19. Colt Coffin, 18:10; 23. John Davis, 18:22; 38. David Powell, 18:58; 39. Garrett Kelly, 18:59; 58. Chris Downs, 19:49.
1. Eudora, 35; 2. De Soto, 49; 3. Tonganoxie, 115; 4. Perry-Lecompton, 148; 5. Basehor-Linwood, 160; 6. Marysville, 196; 7. Jeff West, 202; 8. Royal Valley, 227; 9. Hayden, 232; 10. Piper, 235; 11. Hiawatha, 257; 12. Holton, 311; 13. Bonner Springs, 345.
4. Christy Weller, 12:45; 9. Jennifer Wagner, 13:18; 33. Kayla Leffert, 14:14; 35. Megan Holton, 14:20; 37. Kaitlyn Saathoff, 14:27; 39. Katie Chenoweth, 14:28; 40. Kelley Stauch, 14:31.