Bobcats senior Peterson finishes 26th in state race
Coach says performance may be best since Basehor, Linwood schools merged
As they have done all season, Basehor-Linwood’s Kayla Peterson and Hannah Tush warmed up together Saturday and waited for the race to start.
They were at different points in their cross country careers, with different experiences and appreciations for time. Peterson was winding down an impressive career that included back-to-back state runs, and Tush was experiencing the Class 4A state championships for the first time.
She had gone to state last year and watched Peterson run. Before that, she trekked to Wamego Country Club and watched her older sister compete.
Now, she was getting her chance to run at state.
While they started side by side, Peterson and Tush separated during the race.
Peterson finished in 26th place with a time of 16:45 and missed medaling by just six spots.
Coach Jeff Venema said Peterson’s performance at state is one of the best finishes he can find since Basehor and Linwood high schools merged into one high school.
“You can put it down as one of the all-time great cross country efforts in our school,” he said. “I am really happy with how she did. Wamego is a tough course. To be able to get 16:45, that is really hauling. That would be hard on a flat course.”
Peterson appeared to benefit from having competed at state before.
Tush finished in 54th place out of 103 runners with a time of 17:27.
The race was an invaluable learning experience for Tush who hopes to run there next year. While she performed well, Venema said Tush wasn’t satisfied.
“I think she was disappointed,” Venema said. “I think she wanted to run better than she did. She ran with Kayla all year long, so I am guessing she is not pleased with her results.”
The runners will now go their separate ways. Peterson graduates in May and is exploring opportunities to run in college. She would like to stay involved with the sport and run at the next level.
Tush will be a junior with hopes of helping the girls’ team capture that elusive state trip as a team. She is a competitive runner who Venema will count on to lead the team in 2010.
Venema is convinced Basehor-Linwood can compete with the state’s best teams if it can find a way to qualify a full team. He believed they would have been well represented at state on Saturday. After all, BLHS missed qualifying for state by just six points, and the three teams that finished ahead of the Bobcats at regionals finished in the top seven at state.
“The teams there that we competed against ran very nicely,” Venema said. “I think we would have been there right there with them. I remain convinced we are an upper echelon team, and one of these days I am going to get to prove it.”