Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2003

Tush rushes way to state tourney

October 30, 2003

For Basehor-Linwood freshman Megan Tush, her dream season ended just the way dreams do -- with a trip to the state tournament.

Tush, the fiery freshman who earned a medal at every BLHS meet this season but one, placed 18th at last weekend's regional meet in Tonganoxie and was one of the five individuals on non-qualifying teams picked to head to state.

"Megan ran a 13:08, which was excellent," BLHS coach Jeff Venema said. "She shaved 32 seconds off of her last Tonganoxie race, which is very hard to do. We do not know who last made state from our school, but it's been a while."

And it's been long overdue.

For the past several seasons, cross country at BLHS has been a floundering program. Although the Bobcats have had athletes run and compete hard, they never had the numbers to compete at a higher level.

This year, that changed with the arrival of Tush, Venema and several other freshman boys and girls.

Most of the season, the BLHS team was a force to be reckoned with. Although they never seriously threatened for team titles, they achieved goals their way, one small step at a time.

Tush stole the show at most meets, but Venema said a lot of her success is due in part to her teammates pushing her at practice and at meets. The other part is her raw talent.

The regional meet was the third time the Bobcats ran at Tonganoxie this season. And while Tush earned the highest honor, the rest of the girls showed similar improvement.

"All of our girls showed significant improvement over their last two Tonganoxie course times, especially Amanda Vitt," Venema said. "Her 14.36 time would have been good enough to medal at most of our meets this year, and she was three minutes and 17 seconds better than her first race at Tonganoxie."

Vitt finished in 42nd place.

Joining her on the most improved list was Lauren Forshee, whose 15.18 was easily her best time of the season and good for 51st place. Danielle Bray (57th - 15.41) and Beth Savage (66th - 16:50) also performed well in their final race of the season.

"It was a good day for the girls," Venema said. "We ran in a very competitive regional and had big success."

On the boys side of things, the success was not quite as big.

After starting the season with a promising number, the BLHS boys' team steadily declined because of injuries and other factors. That decline culminated at the regional tournament, where the Bobcats didn't have enough boys to field a full team.

However, those who were there ran their hearts out.

Steven Bower led the way with a time of 20.51 and finished 60th. Cliff Mishler (66th -- 21.34), Matt Fanning (73rd - 22.55) and Cameron Guidry (77th - 24:50) rounded out the boys field.

Tush will now get ready for the state tournament, which will take place State Saturday, Nov. 1 in Wamego. The girls will run at 11 a.m.

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