Runners place in top-5 at Wamego Invitational
Even when his squad isn’t at full strength, Chris McAfee’s Wildcats are still pretty good.
The De Soto girls cross country team finished fourth while the boys secured third-place Saturday at the Wamego Invitational.
Carly Stanley – one of De Soto’s best runners – was out of town and unable to compete, but Lacey Erickson and company made up for her absence.
“Lacey ran really well,” McAfee said. “She’s got a bit of a glut injury, and it hampered her and was irritating her a little bit. But she keeps showing improvement.”
Erickson finished third overall with a time of 16:06.
Ellie Sheridan also turned in a fine performance, running a solid 16:45, which was good enough for 13th overall.
“Ellie is running better every day,” McAfee said.
Beth Reichenberger, Sarah Churchwell and Jordan Kline rounded out the Wildcats’ top five runners, with times of 16:57, 18:12 and 18:43, respectively.
“Last week Sarah ran a 19:17,” McAfee said. “So there is still a huge amount of potential that is still untapped.”
McAfee’s said he was pleased that the girls are buying into what the coaches are trying to implement.
“Overall we ran well,” he said. “They’re trying to do the things we asked them to do, so I’m feeling encouraged. We were better than last week and heading in the right direction."
That sentiment translates to the boys squad as well.
The boys finished in third, one spot ahead of powerhouse Baldwin High, after Austin Hinchey turned in a 17:05, good enough for seventh-place overall.
“Austin Hinchey was outstanding,” McAfee said. “He has been executing our race strategies. Angel Vasquez is an amazing talent, too. Once he gets his confidence up, and we’re going to stress that to him, he’s going to be great for us.”
Vasquez ran a 17:55 and earned 17th place overall.
Phillip Kaul, Ben Burgweger and Ry Patton were De Soto’s next three finishers.
“Austin Hinchey and Ry Patton are the two guys that are the most consistent,” McAfee said. “Those guys have ran in state championships and in every kind of circumstances possible. They don’t get flustered.”
McAfee said the boys probably should have finished higher if the strategy for the meet had been adjusted.
“Probably the one mistake we made, and I take the fall for it, is that our guys started too far back,” he said. “They had to work really hard to get up there further in the pack. That’s a change that we’ll work on over the next couple weeks.”
McAfee’s squad travels Saturday to Bonner Springs and then Tuesday at Tonganoxie.