Something old, something new for runners
De Soto's Carly Stanley and Shelbie Petty locked arms and went skipping across the course, bounding from a collection of teammates near the finish of Thursday's race to the Wildcats' camp.
Essential cogs on the defending Class 4A state champion girl team, the wide smiles and Broadway musical-esque skipping might have seemed a little out of place at so small a meet.
Thursday's win was no minor victory. The girls beat Baldwin via tiebreaker to claim their first Frontier League cross country title, snapping the Bulldogs' nine-year lock on the title.
The boys won the league title as well -- though it was hard to tell as they didn't skip -- besting Baldwin via a comfortable margin to snap an 11-year league title streak.
"That was so exciting. We ran so well," Stanley said. "We went into the season thinking we can win all of them. We lost one the week before, but this helps."
The boys beat Baldwin for the fourth time in 2007, this time with a 22-point edge, 29 to 51.
The girls race was a lot more skip-inducing, however. Stanley led the way as four Cats piled into the top 10.
Chesney Burgweger helped make the difference, though. One of only two Cats running Thursday who also took part in last year's state championship, she came in as the team's sixth runner, in 15th place.
The teams were knotted at 32 points each before Burgweger, but she, along with De Soto's Beth Reichenberger, edged in front of Baldwin's sixth runner, Julie Hill, to break the tie.
Burgweger had a four-second edge on Hill, but it made all the difference in the world.
"We knew it was going to be close, and it was just a few seconds here or there," De Soto coach Chris McAfee said. "Overall, we ran really well, and so did Baldwin. We knew after Rim Rock it was going to be tight. It's going to be close over the next two weeks."
Stanley, a sophomore, was third in the race, finishing the four-kilometer course at Lawrence's Rim Rock Farms in 15 minutes, 49 seconds. Freshman Lacey Erickson was 10 seconds behind in fourth, and Petty, also a freshman, was sixth at 16:12.
Sophomore Maddy Frehe was 8th in 16:18, freshman Hannah Jokisch 11th in 16:30, and Burgweger and Reichenberger 15th and 16th, in 16:57 and 17:00.
"I felt really good today," Stanley said. "This was our best race. I'm pretty confident -- nervous for the regional course -- but confident."
What the boys lacked in drama, they up for in domination. No where was it more obvious than on the medal stand after the race.
The Frontier League, whittled down to eight teams this season, ran both the varsity and junior varsity races together. The top 21 runners were named to all league teams.
De Soto sophomore Ben Burgweger didn't even count as varsity, but his 21st place finish in the race netted a spot on the all-league honorable mention team.
His seven varsity teammates made various team in front of him.
Colin Jokisch was third on the five-kilometer course in 17:01. Lucas Slater was fourth, Cristian Dozier sixth, Trey Lind seventh and Jerin Riffel ninth.
Austin Hinchey and Ry Patton ran together to round out the Cats' varsity squad, finishing 14th and 15th respectively.
"McAfee told us Baldwin would be up with the top pack and we had to stay up with them," Dozier said. "We knew where everybody (from Baldwin) was.
"We can do really well next week, too."
It's friendly but it's also competitive.