THS boys, girls cross country off to state
Both squads take third at Class 4A regional for second consecutive season
Jennifer Wagner has been battling a nagging leg injury.
On Saturday, she said she didn't notice any pain.
"I didn't hurt at all," Wagner said. "Probably because my legs were numb. But that was exciting."
Yes, it was frigid, windy and overcast day for a Class 4A regional in Marysville.
But Tonganoxie persevered through the elements and landed both its teams in the state cross country meet. The boys and girls both qualified with third-place finishes.
"We talked most of the week about bad weather not affecting their goals," THS coach Phil Williams said. "And I think they did a really good job."
For the second consecutive year, both teams qualified for the state tournament. Before last year, both teams hadn't qualified in the same year since 1991.
"That was certainly one of our goals," Williams said. "It would have been a real disappointment if one team would have made it and the other one not."
Tonganoxie placed third with 103 points behind Wamego, which scored 51, and regional champion Clay Center, which scored 50.
In the girls race, Christy Weller was the top Tonganoxie runner with a time of 18 minutes, 2 seconds, good for sixth place.
"Before the race, he talked to each of us, where he thought we would finish," Weller said about a conversation with Williams. "And he put me at sixth place."
Andie Jeannin, Addy Phelps and Jennifer Wagner ran fairly well in a pack, as Jeannin placed 18th (18:40), Phelps 19th (18:44) and Wagner 24th (19:36).
Kaitlyn Saathoff and Kayla Leffert ran together also, as Saathoff finished 38th (20:11) and Leffert 39th (20:12). Katie Chenoweth finished 44th (20:27) for the Chieftains.
Weller and Wagner both commented about how well Jeannin ran. Weller also spoke about Phelps' performance.
"Addy Phelps ran really well today," Weller said.
Now the team will turn its attention to Saturday's state meet in Wamego.
Wagner likes Tonganoxie's chances at this year's meet.
"I think we have a better chance of doing well at state this year," she said. "Our team is a lot stronger."
And for Weller, it's an opportunity, she hopes, to earn her first state medal.
"I want to get in the top 20 so bad," Weller said.
Tonganoxie will run at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on the Wamego golf course.
Boys cross country
On the boys side, Chris Price was Tonganoxie's top runner for a second consecutive meet. He placed eighth at regionals and led the Chieftains to the third-place finish with 101 points behind Clay Center (75) and champion Wamego (44).
"It's always a rush," Price said, discussing finishing as the team's top runner and watching the squad move on to state.
Price qualified for state last year, but this will be his first appearance as a Chieftain. Last year, he advanced in 3A while running for Cheney.
"Chris Price ran a real gusty race for the second week in a row," Williams said.
Matt Brock finished in 15th for Tonganoxie with a time of 18:41, while David Powell finished 22nd in 19:19 and Dalton Lawson just three seconds behind him in 25th.
Williams said Brock continues to deal with a leg injury.
"Matt Brock, I think, still is a ways away form being normal," Williams said.
The THS coach had Brock finishing in the top four if he would have been healthy. Instead, he finished in 15th.
"That's not bad, but that's not where he would be if he were 100 percent," Williams said.
Williams also expected Colin Perkins to finish in the top 10, but he finished 31st, as a side cramp slowed him down halfway through the race, Williams said.
Tim Beeman placed 35th (19:43) and Patrick Holton 54th (20:27) for THS.
"David Powell ran well, Dalton Lawson ran well," Williams said. "I think Tim Beeman ran well. They all did a good job."
The team will compete at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Wamego.
Williams is eager for his teams to make a return trip to Wamego.
"I hope that we're not just satisfied to be there this year," Williams said. "Of course, two or three girls weren't feeling good last year.
"The experience level is going to make a big difference I think."