Girls take 9th; boys 10th at meet
Youngsters again led the Tonganoxie High cross country team -- this time at the highly touted Rim Rock Invitational off Wellman Road between McLouth and Lawrence.
Sophomore Christy Weller led the girls team with an eighth-place finish out of 101 runners and a time of 16 minutes, 57 seconds. In her previous meet, she dropped out at the midway point because of chest pains. On Saturday, Weller was in good shape. She finished the 4,000-meter run, which is about a half-mile farther than the normal two-mile girls cross country course.
"I think she could have run a little bit faster, but we tried to have her take it easy early," THS coach Phil Williams said. "We would have had her run a little faster if we would have known she would be feeling all right.
"But I thought she did really well."
On the boys side, freshman Matt Brock was Tonganoxie's top finisher. He finished 20th out of 140 runners with an 18:15 time on the 5,000-meter course.
Williams said the rookie performed "extremely well."
"As a freshman, that was a great accomplishment," Williams said. "I'm really proud of him."
Both Chieftain teams competed in the Blue Division at Rim Rock. The "Blue" followed the Gold and Red division races. The Gold Division was categorized as the top race at the meet.
Tonganoxie girls finished the meet in ninth place out of 12 teams. De Soto won the race with 57 points. Tonganoxie had 196.
Megan Holton finished in 43rd with an 18:33 time, while Kayla Leffert was 66th (19:28). Kelley Stauch placed 74th (19:37), Ashli Koch 84th (20:12) and Jennifer Wagner 91st (21:05). Kezia Huseman finished 93rd with a 21:14 time.
Jennifer Wagner, who has been Tonganoxie's No. 2 runner behind Weller during the first few weeks this season, finished in the 100s. Wagner, it turned out, had a fever during the weekend.
"Our girls didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped, but hopefully we'll be feeling a little better this week."
On the boys side, Justin Smith was Tonganoxie's No. 2 runner. He finished in 19:24, good for 57th. Colin Perkins wasn't far behind in 62nd (19:32), while Colt Coffin placed 68th (19:40). John Davis finished 75th (19:46) and David Powell placed 83rd (19:57). Michael finished in 22:26 for 133rd.
"I think our boys ran fairly well as a team," Williams said.
Tonganoxie placed 10th out of 20 teams with 251 points. Excelsior Springs (Mo.) won the meet with 111.
Mild temperatures helped make Saturday a perfect day for a race, Williams said. Runners needed all the help they could get on the demanding course that features a steep hill before the finish line.
"There's a big hill a quarter-mile from the finish that really gets kids," Williams said. "It really kind of separates the men from the boys on the hill there."
THS will run on a more level course Thursday with its home meet at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds in Tonganoxie. The invitational will attract 19 other teams.
"This year is going to be as strong as ever," Williams said.
On the boys side, Williams looks for Kansas City Christian, De Soto and Jeff West and Anderson County to be some teams to watch.
As for the girls teams, De Soto, Mill Valley and Eudora are Williams' favorites.
The meet will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Rim Rock Invitational
1. De Soto, 57; 2. Lincoln Southwest, 69; 3. Kearney, 101; 4. Pembroke Hill, 103; 5. Excelsior Springs, 134; 6. Wichita South, 161; 7. Sabetha, 185; 8. Basehor-Linwood, 196; 9. Tonganoxie, 196; 10. Lincoln Prep, 272: 11. Mission Valley, 275; 12. Girard, 282.
1. Excelsior Springs, 111; 2. De Soto, 138; 3. Kearney, 148; 4. Girard, 162; 5. Hillsboro, 176; 6. Ozark, 185; 7. Lincoln Southwest, 187; 8. Wichita Collegiate, 203; 9. Jefferson West, 215; 10. Tonganoxie, 251; 11. Sabetha, 254; 12. Metro Christian, 257; 13. Pembroke Hill, 299; 14. Eudora, 311; 15. Wichita Independent, 372; 16. Pike Valley, 382; 17. Hayden, 418; 18. St. Joe Lafayette, 445; 19. Lincoln College Prep, 479; 20. Reeds Spring, 561.