Freshman wraps up stellar season
There are three ways you can look at Megan Tush's performance at last weekend's 4A state cross country meet in Wamego.
The first, and most obvious, is the bottom line.
The Basehor-Linwood freshman finished 85th out of 100 runners with a time of 14.08.
The second, and most flattering, is a skewed view of the standings.
While Tush finished 85th overall, she finished 18th out of the freshman runners who also experienced their first state event.
The third and most realistic way is that the experience was a lot of fun and was the perfect ending to an enormously successful freshman season.
That's the way BLHS coach Jeff Venema chose, anyway.
"It was a great experience for Megan," Venema said. "It should help her in training for track in the spring and cross country next fall."
But before looking ahead, it's probably a good idea to look back.
What Tush did this season was nothing short of spectacular. Here was a sensational middle school athlete stepping her game up to the next level. But instead of just simply competing and running hard, Tush did more. She competed with the best of the best.
Counting state, the Bobcats attended 10 meets this season. Tush earned medals at seven of those 10 meets, and just getting to state was enough to make up for the three she missed.
She set the pace for the BLHS girls team at every meet. She couldn't have done it alone and she didn't have to. All season she benefitted from the leadership of the older girls and the push from her fellow freshmen.
But at her final meet, the swan song of a stellar freshman season, Tush was alone on the course.
It's hard to say whether she would've done better if her teammates were on the course with her. Venema said the competition was stiff and at that level every girl knows how to run to win.
Tush jumped out of the gates fast. She ran her first mile right around six minutes. But her lightning quick start drained her a bit and she finished her second mile in exhaustion.
"She probably went out a little too fast," Venema said. "She ran roughly a six-minute first mile and then held on as best she could for the second mile."
But that was the key, she held on.
She pushed herself. And she finished ahead of 15 other runners. Not bad for a freshman, who had never seen anything like it.
With Tush and a number of other young runners returning, as well as a new excitement about cross country, Venema said the future looks bright for the BLHS program.