THS girls post perfect 15 to win invite
Chieftains’ boys also victorious
A week after being on the wrong end of a perfect score, Tonganoxie High’s girls cross country team posted a flawless 15 points Thursday at Effingham to win the Atchison County Invitational.
By having the top five runners among the three schools with enough entries to be in the running for a team title, the THS girls had the best score possible when Hunter Cook finished third and Chieftains Tressa Walker, Amanda Shepley, Emma Stilgenbauer and Taylar Morgan took fifth through eighth place.
Tonganoxie coach Phil Williams said the girls probably weren’t quite as good as their score indicated, because they were going against some runners from smaller schools and only two other teams were in the running for team points.
Still, Williams said it was a good experience for the girls, because there were some decent runners competing.
“I think it’s good for our kids to have a little bit of a blowout, if you want to call it that,” Williams said after THS finished 37 points ahead of runner-up Pleasant Ridge.
Not only did Tonganoxie take five of the top eight spots, but its runners had 13 of the top 19 times, with both Halston Field (10th) and Emily Williams (11th) finishing in less than 20 minutes.
Cook said she and her teammates ran well at Effingham.
“We were really excited about how we ran,” Cook said. “We thought it was going to be a bigger meet than it actually was but we were really happy.”
The sophomore said the Chieftains tried to run in a pack. They accomplished that goal with their top five runners finishing within 27 seconds of each other.
“I was a little bit ahead and the pack right behind me was a big group right together,” Cook said, “so we were really excited that we could have the pack together.”
Boys nearly perfect in victory
Tonganoxie’s boys almost matched the girls with a perfect score of their own but finished just two points off with a 17. The Chieftains took the top four spots and seventh through 10th on their way to a team title of their own.
Patrick Rachford finished first with a time of 19:21 and teammates Dalton Harrington, Jeff Neal and Caleb Himpel all crossed the finish line before any other non-THS runners. Though competitors from Atchison County and Valley Falls took fifth and sixth place, Tonganoxie runners Asher Huseman, Clayton Himpel, Brady Field and Garrett French rounded out the top 10, giving the Chieftains eight of the top 10 spots.
Williams said Rachford is the team’s leader but his teammates aren’t too far behind him, which should make Tonganoxie successful.
“Patrick is gonna be one of the top runners around and I hope he has a chance to be a state medalist but the thing that is gonna make our boys team pretty tough is there are four right now running pretty close together,” the coach said after the Chieftains’ top four finished within 20 seconds of each other.
Because Caleb Himpel is just getting back into shape and Huseman has shown improvement pretty quickly, Williams said Tonganoxie should form a strong team.
“Our strength is gonna be in our balance,” the coach said, “more than just in our number one runner.”
Despite his first-place finish and the team title, Rachford wasn’t too jazzed about the meet, because of the lack of competition. However, he said it was good for some of the younger THS runners to experience a different course and learn a little bit more about running on the varsity level.
The senior said he has been happy to see freshmen contributing to the team’s success.
“There’s so many guys like Mitch Brock and Asher Huseman that are up there working hard and I like to see their efforts,” Rachford said. “They’ve done a really good job in practice.”
At 5 p.m. Sept. 20, the Chieftains will play host to the Tonganoxie Invitational.
MHS runs at Atchison County
McLouth also competed at the Atchison County Invitational. The Bulldogs’ girls were third and the boys were sixth.
Ryan Bristol, who finished 14th in the boys race, and Kayla Blevins, who took 23rd in the girls race, were McLouth’s top runners.
Atchison County Invitational
Thursday at Effingham
Team scores: 1. Tonganoxie, 15; 2. Pleasant Ridge, 52; 3. McLouth, 91.
THS results: 3. Hunter Cook, 18:45; 5. Tressa Walker, 19:10; 6. Amanda Shepley, 19:12; 7. Emma Stilgenbauer, 19:12; 8. Taylar Morgan, 19:12; 10. Halston Field, 19:25; 11. Emily Williams, 19:39; 13. Lindsay Cox, 20:14; 14. Sarah Ahart, 20:20; 16. Mackenzie Rachford, 20:24; 17. Jessica Sommers, 20:44; 18. Megan Berry, 20:44; 19. Chris Tiner, 21:03; 21. Rachel Woods, 21:21; 24. Shelby Fatherley, 21:31; 27. Rachel Sparks, 21:48; 28. Jessica Rubio, 21:49; 30. Kelsi Briggs, 21:54; 32. Annie Holton, 22:06; 33. Lindsey Truesdell, 22:06; 34. Sarah Williams, 22:08; 41. Annabelle Frese, 24:07; 46. Jaycee Knipp, 25:21; 47. Makayla Leslie, 25:51; 48. Lauren Hughes, 26:17; 49. Bonnie Monahan, 30:14; 50. Celeste Bartels, 30:51.
MHS results: 23. Kayla Blevins, 21:23; 39. Rachel Jensen, 22:54; 40. Kaitlyn Olliff, 23:16; 43. Destiny Mestagh, 24:40; 44. Jordyn Johnston, 24:51; 45. Kami Wisdom, 25:13.
Team scores: 1. Tonganoxie, 17; 2. Atchison, 71; 3. Valley Falls, 91; 4. Atchison County, 92; 5. Pleasant Ridge, 104; 6. McLouth, 110.
THS results: 1. Patrick Rachford, 19:21; 2. Dalton Harrington, 19:28; 3. Jeff Neal, 19:30; 4. Caleb Himpel, 19:41; 7. Asher Huseman, 19:59; 8. Clayton Himpel, 20:05; 9. Brady Field, 20:49; 10. Garrett French, 20:58; 13. Andrew Behm, 21:17; 15. Brad Andrews, 21:41; 35. Bret Morey, 23:33; 37. Jackson Bartlett, 23:53; 38. Dalton Tavis, 23:54; 43. Stephen Stockman, 25:06; 47. Seth Wolf, 25:53; 60. Joey Rausch, 36:46.
MHS results: 14. Ryan Bristol, 21:39; 21. Nic Bair, 22:11; 25. Logan Hoobler, 22:21; 42. Sam Rainey, 25:06; 44. Lucas Strouhal, 25:07.