De Soto cross country girls third, boys fifth at Wamego
It's not the toughest course or the most competitive meet.
But the Wamego Country Club that doubles as the state cross country course often draws the ire of De Soto runners.
Saturday they did a fine job of taming it, however.
The Wildcats excelled in what coach Chris McAfee is hoping was a preview of the state meet, scheduled for later this season.
The De Soto girls team, led by eighth place finisher Morgan Frehe, finished third, edging Eudora for the second straight week, knocking off highly-thought of Clay Center and solidifying a spot near the top of the Class 4A ranks.
"I would have been happy with the top five or top 6," McAfee said. "To finish third against all those teams, I was very pleased."
Frehe was the only Wildcat in the top 10 and Lauren Karnitz was the only other one in the top 20, finishing 16th, but well paced races from Chesney Burgweger, 27th, Andrea Young, 39th and Carrie Wilbert, 41st helped De Soto.
And McAfee's favorite part? He thinks they can do even better.
"We really didn't have the best race from a couple girls," he said. "Carrie was banged up and I'm hoping she'll do better this week and Andrea can do better. I hope she'll come around. If we can do that, we'll be hard to beat."
Karnitz tied her personal best with a time of 13:09 and Burgweger knocked 12 seconds of her previous best race.
The guys meanwhile took a different approach to the race.
They finished in fifth place, ahead of six other teams, without placing a single runner in the top 15.
Adam Justice again led the Wildcats, finishing 18th in a time of 18:00, 35 seconds better than a week ago.
Tanner McNamara also had a good race, despite suffering from a form of the whooping cough. He finished 12 seconds behind Justice in 23rd place.
The most amazing thing about the seven Wildcats that ran varsity was that all of them finished within 73 seconds of each other.
Spread between 18th place and 53rd, Matt Woywod brought up the read in a time of 19:13. Chris Dvorak was 28th in the best race of his career, his personal best time of 18:25 more than 30 seconds better than his previous best.
Lucas Slater, who McAfee lumped with Justice, McNamara and Dvorak as potential top 10 finishers in any race, was 33rd.
No doubt a clear-cut top gun would be nice, McAfee admitted, but he also pointed out the virtues of the Wildcats newfound pack mentality.
"Being in that pack really works out," he said, but explained the strength of the team. "Our seven guy was better than everyone else's seven except Baldwin. Our number six runner was the second best behind Baldwin's. This shows how strong and deep we are."
Next up is a Saturday race at Rim Rock. Its one of the largest cross country races in the region, attracting nearly 80 schools from several states, and its just a thrill for the athletes, McAfee said.
"We want to do really well because it'll be a fun race," he said. "There's just so many schools, you can feel that electricity in the air. The course is gorgeous, very unique."