Wildcats ready for hills
Wamego isn't the hilliest course the De Soto cross country team faces all year.
It isn't even the hilliest the Wildcats have seen this season following the season-opening meet at Anderson County.
That never stops the kids from grimacing when the busses set out for the rolling flint hills that protect the Wamego Country Club.
"Hills are always a big deal, but it's just the mindset about Wamego," De Soto coach Chris McAfee said of the course that will host a race this week and the state championship later this season. "You ask them and they're all 'Oh gosh, it's so hard.' I think Rim Rock is a lot more challenging, but they have it in their head."
No matter the terrain, McAfee hopes to see improvement from his team, something he's confident they can achieve after a successful debut at Anderson County.
The De Soto girls finished second, edging Eudora and trailing one of the state's best, Baldwin, but just nine points.
Morgan Frehe led the way, finishing sixth and grabbing her 10th top-10 finish with a career best time of 13 minutes and five seconds.
Lauren Karnitz finished 11th and Carrie Wilbert came in fourth as five Wildcats packed into the top 20.
Even more encouraging was how much better it could have gone, McAfee said.
"Morgan had a Baldwin girl and a Eudora girl right in front of her and she's beat those girls before," he said. "Then our four and five girls were right behind two Baldwin girls and two Eudora girls, within seconds, so that would have made a big
The boys weren't as successful. The team finished third, where McAfee projected them, but were well behind second-place Louisburg and first-place Baldwin.
Adam Justice finished 13th in his first cross country race with a time of 18:35, but McAfee said it's still a battle convincing the 800 meter specialist that he has the endurance to hang with the fastest group.
"He did well. He was up there a lot higher in the race and I think he got," McAfee said. "I think he probably should have been as high as 10 places higher. He's capable of that."
The biggest blow for the boys team came in the medical report on Tanner McNamara.
The team's best runner on paper, McAfee had hoped he'd challenge Justice and provide the team another top threat.
McNamara's been unable to maintain a consistent practice routine due to a lingering medial problem, however. A week's worth of doctor visits have yielded no firm answers.
"He probably won't be running at full strength this season, if we get him at all," McAfee said. "He's just a stabilizing force. If we can get him healthy and get him back, that will be great."