Bobcats take Nemaha tournament by storm
Girls take first, boys take second in banner day for cross country squad
It was as though the Basehor-Linwood boys cross country runners got tired of going home empty-handed while their female teammates left tournaments weighed down with medals and trophies. The boys still have some catching up to do, but they closed the gap a bit with a sterling performance at Tuesday's Nemaha Valley Cross Country Invitational in Seneca.
In an 11-team field the Basehor-Linwood boys finished second, just behind Centralia High and slightly ahead of Holton. Alex Vitt, Tyler Henley, Stephen Dyer and Mark Vaca all medaled for the Bobcats, a wealth of hardware that was like nothing the BLHS boys cross country squad had seen in a long time.
"We've never had any since I've been here," BLHS coach Jeff Venema said. "It's pretty great."
Vitt, a junior, led the way for the Bobcat boys, finishing sixth. He was followed by the freshman Henley, who took 13th, Dyer in 16th and the freshman Vaca in 20th.
Of course, the BLHS girls were no slouches either. They dominated their competition, taking first by a wide margin over runners-up Nemaha High School and Holton. The other female teams were clearly over matched by the depth and talent of the Bobcats, who placed five runners in the top 10.
Kayla Peterson continued her ultra-promising freshman season, taking second place. She was followed closely by Alex Vitt's sister, Amanda, in third, and the Vitts likely had to clear a lot of space in the family trophy case when she and her brother came home. Megan Tush, a senior co-captain along with Amanda Vitt and Dyer, took fifth.
The junior tandem of Caren Chellgren and Emily Lackner rounded out the scoring for BLHS, finishing eighth and 10th, respectively. Even the Lady Bobcats' last two runners, Katelynn Witt and Megan Rehm, earned medals, taking 18th and 19th.
Rehm had been dominating the junior varsity races and was moved up to varsity for the first time on Tuesday. Her J.V. teammates didn't miss her, though, as they were still the top squad at Nemaha, taking first in their race easily. Maggie Schroeder won the J.V. race and was followed by Jordanne Leiker in second, Hanna Bates in fourth and Randee Manis in fifth.
All in all, the boys and girls teams earned a staggering total of 15 individual medals, which Venema said they'd "certainly never done before." Add in the team awards and the hardware count was even higher and, if the bus seemed to be riding a little low on the way home, the weight of all that metal might have had something to do with it.
"Kids that have never medaled before, some got two medals, so that was great," Venema said. "I'm just really happy for the kids."
The Nemaha meet followed a more modest showing against very strong competition at the Bonner Springs Invitational, which was held last Wednesday at Wyandotte County Park. None of the boys medaled in that meet, though as a team they did take seventh place out of 16 squads. Alex Vitt led the way, finishing 29th in a very competitive field.
Amanda Vitt (12th), Tush (19th) and Peterson (20th) all earned medals for the girls side at Wyco Park. They led the girls varsity squad to a third-place finish, behind only powerhouses De Soto and Maranatha. The junior varsity girls finished second with Rehm (4th) and Schroeder (7th) the top finishers.