Lee takes third, Mill Valley girls finish seventh at state meet
Junior Griffin Lee finished third overall and the Mill Valley High girls cross country team brought home seventh place at Saturday`s Kansas Class 4A meet in Wamego.
It was a storybook ending to a debut season for the Jaguars, who, in their first year of competition, built the foundation for a season that featured a series of high points -- none higher than the state meet.
A large contingency of Mill Valley supporters made the trip to Wamego. The crowd roared every time a Jaguar crossed the finish line.
"Everyone was excited, lots of cheering," Lee said. "Most of the boys team and the parents came."
The rain didn`t dampen the spirit as Lee plodded his way through a muddy track to finish third in 16:27 and bring home all-state honors.
"It was really tough," he said. "For about three-fourths of the race there was a big pack. I just went slower and then moved up throughout the race."
The only thing more exciting than Lee`s finish was the showing of the Mill Valley girls, who got strong showings from seniors Angie Matlack and Tina Wiggins to finish seventh in the team standings.
"It was really nerve-wracking --a lot of people wanting to do well," Wiggins said.
Despite the intimidating atmosphere, Wiggins improved her personal best by 72 seconds.
The highlight of the day for the girls team was when it found out it had beaten Lansing in the team standings. One week earlier, Lansing had edged out the Jaguars to capture the Kaw Valley League crown.
"We were really excited that we beat Lansing," said freshman Hillary Johnson.
Matlack finished 20th to earn the all-state honor, while Johnson placed 29th.
Freshman Laurie Wilson finished 56th in the girls competition at last week`s state meet.
"I was astonished at Laurie`s strong second mile. She responded well for a freshman in a state championship," said coach Chris McAfee "I was extremely proud of the guts and determination she showed. It was a fun way to end the season and leave me looking forward to next season."
The final race of the season occurred for most of the boys team at the regional race in Ottawa.
Senior Chad Johnson finished his career with a 29th-place finish.
Also running were sophomore Jason Wayne and freshman Cassie Garza. Wayne finished 42nd and Garza 31st.