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XC: Avery Clifton...Best in...the country?

By Taylor Eldridge

For those who haven’t heard by now, Topeka Washburn Rural’s Avery Clifton won the big showdown today at the Southeast Invitational at Cessna Activities Center. Clifton and Bishop Carroll freshman Kaelyn Balch pushed the pace early and Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Mackenzie Maki and Maize’s Dani Walker ran pretty much by themselves for third and fourth place respectively.

First, let’s review real quick. Anything under 17 minutes is good. Anything under 16 minutes is great. Anything under 15 minutes is the best of the best. Anything under 14 minutes is…well, unheard of. Anywhere.

Not anymore. Clifton ran a 13:48. Yes, 13:48. Thirteen minutes, forty-eight seconds. On a legit 4k course. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not only a no-doubt-about-it state record, from what I can tell after searching for the last hour, it is the fastest recorded time in the 4k in the United States this year.

Not to mention Balch went 14:01. As a freshman. Don’t overlook that. That time is likely the second-fastest time in state history and in the country right now. That is absolutely insane. I know we’re only about a month in the season, but Kansas has two of the best cross country runners in the country. Pretty special.

I’ll be back later for more reaction. Catch you later!

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