Basehor-Linwood girls’ cross country team eyes another title
Basehor-Linwood girls' cross-country team started the school's athletic resurgence last fall by winning a Kaw Valley League title.
Now, the team is focused on sustaining success on the girls side and pushing the boys into the upper-half of the league.
"We are going to try to defend our league title on the girls side," coach Jeff Venema said. "We are not willing to concede to anybody, but we know how good the league is. We don't know how we will match up, but we will try our best."
Venema said his goal for every season is to have the boys and girls finish in the top half of the league. He said it was too early to make predictions about this year's team.
"At this time last year, if someone who followed cross country was making predictions, they probably would have picked our girls third or fourth (in the KVL)," Venema said. "It always comes down to who works the hardest and who can avoid injuries."
This year's team will be operating under an increased level of expectations on athletic programs at BLHS. Venema said last year's team set a good example for the amount of time a league-champion had to put in to be successful.
"I think we go out and work hard and have fun," Venema said. "These kids are very well aware of the success we had. They can look down at their letter jackets and see where we were last year. But that was last year. We are ready to start back up again."
The boys finished seventh in the league last year. Runners Martin Buck, Ryan Ellis and Aaron Francis have worked hard to improve during the off season.
"We really like what they are doing and what they have added to the program," Venema said. "They are showing what people can get by working hard. A runner has a clock on them at all times. There is no hiding and no off days. These guys haven't taken an off day."
The team also added basketball coach Mike McBride to the coaching staff.
"We are very excited to have him involved with the program," Venema said. "He works very well with our athletes. He expects nothing but their best,."
The girls' team lost some talented runners to graduation. Amanda Vitt is now running for Pittsburg State and Megan Tush is running at Mid-America Nazarene University.