Maize South’s cross country teams benefited from a change of scenery Saturday, and the Mavericks hope for similar success in a week.
Both the Mavericks’ boys and girls team finished sixth a year ago in Class 5A, and they appear to have settled in very nicely in 4A, placing all of their five runners in the top 30 and breezing to 4A regional titles.
Maize South’s girls had no scorer finishing higher than ninth in capturing the title by 32 points over Andover Central. The Mavericks’ boys had four of five scorers in the top 15 and outdistanced runner-up Circle by 16 points.
Maize South, Andover Central and Circle snagged the three team qualifying spots for both boys and girls for next Saturday’s state meet over the Wamego Country Club course.
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Mavericks girl runners finished second, fourth, sixth, ninth and 10th, led by senior Sierra Mortenson’s time of 19 minutes, 3.01 seconds. Clearwater freshman Aimee Davis won the race in 18:45.75.
Maize South’s boys finished second, sixth, 10th, 13th and 25th, led by senior Eathan Kossover (16:36.36). Collegiate junior Lakelin Conrad finished first in 16:23.25.
Coach Jason Parr praised his teams’ hard work for the outcome.
“Every day, we’re just trying to get a little bit better,” he said. “They came out here, and it was no different (Saturday). We want to put our best seven (runners) in front of everyone else’s best seven, and we’re looking forward to getting another chance to do that in Wamego.”
His teams were unfamiliar with the Bluestem Point course coming in, Parr said. When the Mavericks get to Wamego, they will find another unfamiliar course.
“New course, new class, new competition, and you can’t overlook any of it,” Parr said. “You never want to expect (to win), but if you run as you’re capable of running, then there’s a good chance that we should be able to do that.”
Other schools, such as Circle, have raced at Wamego this season. In fact, coach Gary Wartick’s Thunderbirds swept the team titles at the Wamego Invitational on Sept. 10.
If familiarity means anything, (Circle was fifth in girls and seventh in boys at last year’s state meet), Wartick said his teams will welcome a second shot at Maize South.
“Our boys and girls both won the Wamego meet just six weeks ago,” Wartick said. “We know the course.”
But there is the issue of the Mavericks, he said.
“Maize South is phenomenal. I wish they were (still) 5A,” Wartick joked.
The Mavericks boys had two contributions from Jayce Meyer and Luke Jennings, who finished 25th and 29th after Dane Wedge battled an injury and finished 27th. Parr also praised freshman Trey Rios, who finished 13th.
Andover Central will be taking both boys and girls for the first time, coach Kevin Wiebe said.
“That’s what we’ve been shooting for,” he said. “The boys have focused on that all week, and man, they’ve been great. They’ve been positive, light-hearted and confident. It’s been fun.”
Team scores – 1. Maize South, 26; 2. Andover Central, 58; 3. Circle, 76; 4.Trinity Academy, 121; 5. Independence, 152; 6. Mulvane, 178; 7. Haven, 187; 8. Andale, 193; 9. Rose Hill, 233; 10. Winfield, 246;
Top individuals – 1. Davis, Clearwater, 18:45.75 (course record); 2. Mortenson, Maize South, 19:03.01; 3. Trout, Independence, 19:31.94; 4. Wagner, Maize South, 19:56.95; 5. Jacobson, Circle, 19:58.69; 6. Johnson, Maize South, 20:00.01; 7. Gerber, Andover Central, 20:00.92; 8. Nutting, Andover Central, 20:02.67; 9. Eskridge, Maize South, 20:13.21; 10. Molitor, Maize South, 20:44.79. Also qualifying: 13. Lieb, Trinity Academy, 20:52.68; 15. Landes, Mulvane, 21:13.53; 18. Dixon, Trinity Academy, 21:30.19.
Team scores – 1. Maize South, 56; 2. Circle, 72; 3. Andover Central, 88; 4. Trinity Academy, 99; 5. Collegiate, 146; 6. Andale, 159; 7. (tie) El Dorado, Mulvane, 185; 9. Rose Hill, 264; 10. Augusta, 284; 11. Clearwater, 300; 12. Winfield, 305; 13. Haven, 361; 14. Wellington, 394; 15. Coffeyville-Field Kindley, 457; 16. Independence, 466.
Top individuals – 1. Conrad, Collegiate, 16:23.25 (course record); 2. Kossover, Maize South, 16:36.36; 3. Kemboi, El Dorado, 16:54.47; 4. Keller, Circle, 17:12.45; 5. Henry, Collegiate, 17:12.80; 6. Merriman, Maize South, 17:15.72; 7. Martin, Trinity Academy, 17:23.22; 8. Spencer, Andale, 17:23.76; 9. Stuever, Circle, 17:24.96; 10. Magnuson, Maize South, 17:27.69.