Tonganoxie High cross country on its mark
With the Tonganoxie High cross country season right around the corner, the team had its Red vs. White scrimmage on Friday to determine the varsity runners for the first meet.
The scrimmage took place at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds and the top seven placers on the boys’ and girls’ rosters are the varsity runners for the first meet. The race was 3.1 miles, which is the distance of all of the races during the season.
On the girls’ side: Sierra Staatz, Emily Chambers, Hope Creten, Mathia Slinkard and Mia Bond all made varsity. Head coach John Tollefson said the sixth and seventh spots were both still up for grabs.
However, Tollefson wasn’t pleased with the girls at the front of the pack because they were “running like friends.”
“It seems like there should be more separation with those girls than there was,” Tollefson said.
However, the bigger issue was that three girls who “think of themselves as varsity runners” failed to finish the race.
“I’ve got to talk with them as runners and figure out what’s going on,” Tollefson said. “We’ll have to see how we recover because it was kind of surprising. They’ve been training well and running well in practice. It just wasn’t their day. Hopefully this is the one.”
Staatz won the girls’ race with a time of 23 minutes, 44 seconds and Chambers was second at 24:13. They are two of the six returners from the Chieftains state qualifying team last season. Tollefson acknowledged the talent is there, but said the girls have work to do before their first meet.
“It’s going to be more of a psychological battle for them,” Tollefson said of the three girls that didn’t finish the race. “Physically, I think they’re ready. I just have to get them mentally ready.”
On the boys’ side, Drew Cook, Carter Kietzmann, Calvin Morgan, Chandler Hamman, Jake Edholm, Scott Vick and Jakon Foley all made varsity.
“I think our top seven look like they could really make some noise this season,” Tollefson said. “We’ve also got a couple of solid freshmen that finished higher than we thought they might.”
Cook, who was the most impressive runner of the day at the Chieftains scrimmage, will lead the boys this season. He had a time of 18:11, while second place was Kietzmann at 18:56.
“He put in the miles necessary this summer and it showed in his performance,” Tollefson said.
The boys will need Cook to continue that type of running with the departure of Ethan Phillips. In his senior season last year, Phillips was first team all-Kaw Valley and he qualified for the state meet.
But Tollefson says he’s been pleasantly surprised with the newcomers and he thinks the boys are ready for the first meet.
The Chieftains will open their season Thursday at Lansing with a dual against the Lions.
— Follow Evan Riggs on Twitter: @EvanRRiggs
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