BLHS girls take home the hardware
When it comes to sports awards, medals are nice and plaques are OK, but nothing beats a nice, big trophy. The Basehor-Linwood girls cross country team found that out first hand last Thursday after winning the Maur Hill Tournament in Atchison. The Lady Bobcats beat out Jackson Heights, Tonganoxie, St. Joe Benton and Troy to take first place and earn a trophy well over a foot tall.
"It's amazing," senior Megan Tush said. "We've gotten plaques before, but a trophy, you can just hold it tighter and it feels so much better. We've come so far in the program since my freshman year."
Tush said that after the meet she and fellow senior Amanda Vitt spent some time reminiscing with their coach, Jeff Venema, about the day more than three years ago when Venema first recruited them to come out for the team. Vitt and Tush have come a long way since then, and took seventh and eighth, respectively, at Atchison.
Both seniors finished slightly behind Kayla Peterson, who took sixth. In just her second varsity race the freshman Peterson was Basehor-Linwood's top runner. Tush said she wasn't too surprised at how quickly her teammate had become a cross country force.
"Kayla's a great athlete and I thought from the beginning she'd be one of our top runners," Tush said.
Peterson, Vitt and Tush all finished in the top 10 and the Lady Bobcats also had three other varsity girls medal. Caren Chellgren finished 18th, Ashtynne Farris finished 21st and Emily Lackner finished 24th.
In the girls junior varsity race Megan Rehm and Maggie Schroeder also earned medals. Rehm finished second and Schroeder finished ninth. In the freshman boys race Dylan Blanchard, who also plays football, earned a medal for taking 10th.
No other boys medaled, although Alex Vitt finished 33rd and Stephen Dyer 51st in a boys varsity field that was deep and talented. Venema also pointed out that the girls owed some of their success to the support and good-natured competition they get from the boys.
"Although our boys aren't winning medals they are contributing to the overall success of the program," Venema said. "Our girls get the chance to run with the boys at practice and, in that way, are constantly challenged to push themselves. It really is a mutual thing when either our girls or boys are winning. I'm very proud of our boys."
Although the boys team is fairly young and still developing, the girls appear to be hitting their stride in a big way this year. They're setting lofty goals, especially Vitt and Tush, for whom this is the last go round in high school cross country.
"We've just got to keep pushing each other," Tush said. "Our overall goal is to get to state. Me and Amanda, as seniors we've got it in our heads that nothing's going to stop us this year."
On Wednesday the BLHS cross country squad competed in the Bonner Springs Invitational at Wyandotte County Park, but results weren't available at press time. For a full report on the meet, see next week's Sentinel.