Frehe, Wildcats champs at Rim Rock
Morgan Frehe zipped up and down the hills, over the bridges, along the crest and finally down the slope. As she crossed the finish line to win Saturday's girls blue division race and propel her Wildcats to the team title at the Rim Rock Farm Classic, she may have earned more than a medal and a trophy.
"To win this, it's a big deal," De Soto coach Chris McAfee said. "Everyone gets to know who you are. Everyone already kind of knows who she was, but now she's a champion here at Rim Rock Farm. That's really cool."
Frehe, who finished the four-kilometer course in exactly sixteen minutes, picked up her second career win despite a hard week in practice.
Tailed by Lauren Karnitz, who finished in 15th place, Chesney Burgweger, 17th, and Carrie Wilbert, 18th, Frehe and the team easily bested 11 other full teams and a field of 101 runners.
De Soto, the state's third-ranked team, finished with a score of 57, ahead of Lincoln Southwest (Neb.) at 69 and Kearney, Mo., at 101.
"That was good and I realize we ran a little bit tired today," McAfee said. "When we can learn to pack it in there and run the way we're all capable of running, we'll have a really good team. We really ran well and did a good job."
The boys team was also able to find success at Rim Rock. Tanner McNamara missed his second race of the season because of a flare up of whooping cough, but Adam Justice led the Wildcats, ranked fourth in the state, to a second-place finish in the blue division.
Justice, a junior in his first season of cross country, had a personal best for the third consecutive week, mastering the course in 17:53.
The time was good for eighth place, but neither coach nor athlete was thrilled with the finish. McAfee has been pushing Justice for lower times each week, and Justice agreed: eighth is nice, but it could have been better.
"I felt really good most of the race running in the pack," Justice said. "But I just told myself, 'I can get in the top 10 easy.' I'm happy with it, but I think I could have gotten in the top five."
Chris Dvorak, Matt Woywod, Lucas Slater and Alex Wayne all filed in between 25th and 45th as the Wildcats kept up the pack mentality they ran with Sept. 10 at Wamego.
Woywod had the biggest step of the group. He finished in 18:59, one of three Wildcats to finish below the 19-minute mark, and knocked 1:32 off his time from last year's race at Rim Rock.
"Woywod really stepped it up today, the best race he's probably ever had," McAfee said. "Knowing we didn't have Tanner and we have guys that can still run better, we're really pleased with how we did."