Runners record personal bests
The much-anticipated showdown between David Cox (Anderson County), Jay Matlack (Mill Valley) and Casey Johnson (De Soto) turned out to be the David Cox show last Thursday at the Tonganoxie Invitational.
Cox dominated the race in the early stages, and then waited until Matlack and Johnson narrowed the gap before turning on the jets to win going away.
"He just had too much for Jay and Casey," De Soto coach Chris McAfee said. "Casey ran with Jay for much of the race, before Jay pulled away in the last three-quarters of a mile. Casey just wasn't quite strong enough, yet."
Despite the third-place finish, Johnson did set a personal best with a clocking of 16 minutes and 38 seconds, breaking his old mark by 28 seconds. Cox ran the course in a time of 16:11, while Matlack covered the ground in 16:25.
Donnie Gardner nearly finished in the top five, but he was beaten down the stretch by Lansing's Alan Kroll, who was last spring's 4A 800-meter run champion. Gardner finished sixth in 17:19.
Tanner McNamara (19th, 18:20) and Chris Peterson (26th, 18:30) both earned medals as well for the Wildcats.
The results of the meet had McAfee looking ahead to the Kaw Valley League meet, scheduled later this month.
"Their 2-3-4-5-6 guys are right there with our 3-4 guys," McAfee said of Mill Valley. "But I know Tanner and Chris can run better. When they're feeling better, I know we can beat them. But they are an excellent team."
Cox's younger brother Danny was the second Bulldog to cross the finish line, as Anderson County wrapped up the team championship by edging Mill Valley 66-80. De Soto was next with 83, and Tonganoxie Wilbert used some of her natural aggressiveness to make a run at the leaders in the beginning stages of the second mile. She eventually took over the lead and stayed in front for most of the second mile. A mental lapse allowed two runners to pass her down the stretch, and she had to settle for third place.
Morgan Frehe (13th, 13:12), Melissa Roberts (15th, 13:25) and Katie James (23rd, 13:43) all medaled for the Wildcats as well.
McAfee also received possible good news about Wildcat No. 1 runner Andrea Young's foot injury. After speaking to a doctor about the stress fracture in the foot, the sophomore learned she may be able to run at the league and regional meets.
The Wildcats travel Saturday to Bishop Miege for the Miege Invitational which begins at 10 a.m.
Anderson County 66, Mill Valley 80, De Soto 83, Tonganoxie 103, Lansing 159, Eudora 161, McLouth 166, Jefferson West 172, Maranatha 177, Spring Hill 239. Other schools of interest that did not field a whole team: Basehor-Linwood, Piper and Perry-Lecompton.wound up fourth with 103 points.
Carrie Wilbert discovered it was possible to get a faster time by starting slower. Sometimes that's hard to do, but Wilbert followed that discipline to a third-place individual finish and a personal best time of 12:26, which is the 20th best time in De Soto school history.
"She ran very, very well," her coach said. "We talked to her about getting out too slow and how hard it is for her to make up that ground."