Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Boys cross country team keeps up the pace

September 14, 2006

Quickly doing the cross country math, De Soto coach Chris McAfee said he knew things hadn't gone well, an assessment that at first told him his eyes had not betrayed him in deciding the boys cross country team had not had a good day.

A week after knocking off perennial superpower Baldwin to open the season, things didn't look so good as the team ran in Wamego. In the end, it all made De Soto's second-straight victory all the more shocking.

The Cats beat Baldwin and all the rest on the course where the state championship will take place in less than two months.

It's sweet and surprising, McAfee said, and given that the team wasn't very proud of its effort, it's incentive to work even harder.

"It was more of a hallow victory," McAfee said. "It looks good on paper, but we're not too pleased with it. We talked to the guys about what we were disappointed in and they wholeheartedly agreed before we could say anything."

The team can run better, McAfee stressed, but the Cats' top individuals still managed pretty nice races.

Tanner McNamara led the Cats and finished ninth in the meet, finishing the five-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 35 seconds. He finished 35 seconds better than he did the week before at Anderson County and notched the fourth best time of his career.

Chris Dvorak was 14th, 19 seconds behind McNamara and Colin Jokisch was 29th, finishing in 18:30.

"Tanner, Chris and Matt (Woywod) really ran well," McAfee said. "Tanner's pretty tough and his expectations are high. He's not a guy that goes into a race questioning or doubting. He just worries about getting it done.

"A lot of the other guys and girls on our team could learn a lesson from that."

Lucas Slater was right on Jokisch's heels in 30th and Woywod was 37th at 18:45, the second fastest time in his career. Jerin Riffel was 44th and Brendan Hudson was 81st in the field of 134 runners.

While the girls team wasn't able to boast a first-place trophy like the guys were, it found plenty of success in the hills of the Wamego Country Club golf course as well.

Last week's top runner, Lauren Karnitz, dropped out of the 4-kilometer race before the halfway mark, and the team still managed a second-place finish.

Running only six runners from the start, the team only finished with five. Senior Morgan Frehe led the Cats with a seventh-place finish in 15:33 and was closely followed by freshman Carley Stanley, who ran the best race of her young career and knocked nearly 90 seconds off her time from a week ago.

Stanley finished 10th in 15:44.

"We developed a little bit of a different race plan for her and she still didn't quite follow the race plan in the beginning, but she followed it in the end," McAfee said. "Her confidence is coming along and she's feeling more comfortable and learning how to race.

"She really, really moved well in the last part of the race."

Becca Roberts came in 29th, Trish Roberts was 36th and Chesney Burgweger was 38th, and all were instrumental in keeping the Cats in second.

De Soto finished with 109 points, well behind first-place Baldwin at 68, but still at the top of a talented field. Clearwater, eighth at state in 2005, was third with 128. Buhler, sixth at state, was fourth. Wamego, second at state, was fifth and Eudora, fourth at state, was seventh.

"Trish and Becca and Chesney really stepped up big time," McAfee said. "(Lauren) dropped out about a mile-and-a-half in and I told them she dropped out and to pick it up from her, and they did. They moved a lot in the last quarter of the race, so it was pretty cool."

Both the boys and the girls return to action at 4 p.m. Thursday in Bonner Springs.

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