Davis shines at KVL meet
Eustice, Mayes medal for fourth straight year
Bonner Springs Strength hadn't been one of Griffin Davis' strong points as a distance runner until Thursday.
The tall, lanky sophomore used his long strides to help him run fast, but when it came down to gutting out the final mile of a race, Davis hadn't yet developed the strength to hold his ground.
That's why so many people - Davis' coach and teammates included - shared looks of shock and excitement when Davis blazed to a sixth-place finish at the Kaw Valley League cross country championships at Wyandotte County Park. His time of 18:44 was a personal record by four seconds.
"I wanted to keep it up to make Mr. Logue happy," Davis said, referring to 37th-year LHS coach Errol Logue.
Davis accomplished that goal. Logue was grinning ear-to-ear after watching Davis take a major step in his running career.
Davis came through the two-mile marker in sixth, but during the final 1.1 miles of the five-kilometer race he showed late-race strength for the first time in his career. He didn't just hold his ground in sixth. He extended his lead over the next runner.
"I could feel it," Davis said, explaining how he pushed himself through pain during the final mile. "My time was kind of the same, but it feels like I did a whole lot better. I learned to compete better and I know when to pass people."
Davis said his strong showing at the league will do plenty to boost his confidence as he spends the next week preparing for the Class 5A regional meet in Topeka.
"A few weeks ago I was pretty sure that I wouldn't (make it to state)," he said. I guess there's a possibility now."
Davis wasn't the only LHS runner to do well in the varsity boys' race. Freshman Matt McCurry also turned in a personal best when he placed 23rd in 19:39. That knocked nearly 20 seconds off his previous best time. He finished three spots away from medaling.
Sophomore Jim Mayes was close behind McCurry. Mayes placed 27th in 19:50. Also competing were Wes Applegate (32nd, 20:22), Trenton Dorf (36th, 20:42) and Jason Gibson (50th, 22:46).
In the varsity girls' race, two seniors stepped up in their final league meet. Erin Eustice and Ashley Mayes both became four-time KVL medalists as Eustice placed 12th in 13:45 and Mayes was 13th in 13:46.
Both spent the last few weeks logging top-10 finishes at other meets, and both entered Thursday's meet running their best of the season. It was fitting that they spent most of the race within 10 meters of each other - Mayes was slightly ahead the whole way until Eustice passed her in the final 20 meters.
Both seniors raced more aggressively than they had earlier in the season, and they said they found the experience rewarding.
"You want to get out of your comfort zone," Mayes said of running. "Sometimes I'm afraid to get out of my comfort zone, so I felt much better that I did that today."
"You have to do that," she said. "You have to experience a little pain in running in order to succeed."
Teammate Bianca Manago experienced pain on Thursday, but it was the bad kind of pain. She suffered a hip injury last week and was held out from the Pleasant Ridge Invitational in hopes that the time off would allow her hip to heal.
She still was hurting entering the KVL meet, but she tried to run anyway. Manago - who placed third in the race last year - was running in fourth for the first mile before the pain became unbearable. She dropped back in the pack and finished 33rd in 15:06. She collapsed in pain after finishing the race, and later that night she was on crutches. Her season likely is over.
Two other LHS runners also competed in the varsity girls' race. Freshman Briana Zack was 46th in 16:37 and sophomore Elizabeth Parks was 55th in 18:51.
FLIPPO FINISHES SOLID SEASON
LHS junior Lori Flippo capped her impressive season by placing second in the junior varsity girls' race in a personal best time of 14:15 - just four seconds behind champion Jessica Mesikhomer of Mill Valley.
Flippo's time would have placed 21st in the varsity girls' race.
A transfer from Leavenworth High, Flippo has been unable to participate in varsity races this season because a Kansas State High School Activities Association rule prohibits transfer students from competing in varsity athletics during their first semester at a new school if the transfer wasn't the result of the student's family moving.
Flippo dominated the local JV circuit this year. She competed in eight races this year, winning five of them. She placed second, third and fourth in the other three.
TWO LIONS IN JV BOYS RACE
Lansing freshmen A.J. Glowacki and Michael Hornick both competed in the junior varsity boys' race, but neither medaled. Glowacki placed 24th in 22:39 and Hornick completed the 5K race in 23:15, good for 28th place.
For more about the Lansing High cross country team, as well as a story about seniors Erin Eustice and Ashley Mayes, pick up the Oct. 20 edition of The Current.