Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2007

De Soto’s top 10: No. 1: Girls cross country claims 4A championship

January 4, 2007

Three times in 2006 De Soto was represented atop the podium. Three times Wildcats claimed to be state champions, and all three times made for fantastic stories.

Jackie Goleman bounced back from perhaps one of her most heartbreaking moments in sports to score one of her greatest triumphs in capturing the gold in high jump at state track. Neil Erisman cast aside three years worth of frustration and cemented his place as one of De Soto High Schools best ever by capturing the 171-pound class at state wrestling.

The De Soto girls cross country and their trek for a championship -- that was the story of the year, however. It wasn't just that it was seven kids running a race and hoisting a trophy rather than one, or that their victory was most recent.

It's that the team didn't seem to have a chance when the season started.

It's that it accomplished the impossible with the classic workhorse seniors, the surprising upstart freshman and a stable of outstanding juniors and sophomores.

It's that it went from back-in-the-pack to giant killer to state favorite all in the same season.

The De Soto girls finished well back of defending champion Baldwin at the 2005 state cross country meet, and did so again in the first races of the 2006 season. That was no surprise, given that Baldwin returned basically every piece from its title team and was getting even better performances out of most of those same runners.

But the Cats crept closer and closer and finally stole the show by winning the regional championship, 36 points to Baldwin's 43.

A week later, De Soto proved it, winning its first cross country state championship with a 16-point victory.

Led by seniors Morgan Frehe and Lauren Karnitz, De Soto secured the title with strong performances across the board and nearly every Wildcat turned in their best effort at the state course in Wamego. Carly Stanley, Chesney Burgweger, Trish Roberts, Becca Roberts and Maddy Frehe all helped wrap up the win.

"They ran incredible. They just ran absolutely incredible," coach Chris McAfee said after the race. "Where was the race won? It was won inside themselves. They were very focused from the first girl to the seventh girl and they did exactly what they needed to do."

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