BLHS girls collect third title of season
Leavenworth The plaques continue to pile up for the Basehor-Linwood girls cross country team.
They picked up their third first-place plaque of the season on Thursday at the Lansing Invitational.
Earlier this season they collected plaques for placing first at the Bobcat Invitational, first at the Atchison County Invitational and second at the Tonganoxie Invitational.
For the Bobcats, it’s becoming something of a tradition. They’ve turned in solid performances all season, with the exception of the Rim Rock Farm Classic on Oct. 3 when both the boys and girls struggled. Of course, Rim Rock is considered by most to be the toughest course in the state, so the Bobcats were back in their comfort zone when they competed on the soft grounds of the University of St. Mary.
“For the girls, I don’t think they ran very well at Rim Rock,” BLHS coach Jeff Venema said, “and they came back strong.”
Hannah Tush raced with the leaders of the pack most of the way. Brooklyn Meinke of Christ Prep led wire to wire and won the 4,000-meter race in 16:08. Tush placed fifth in 16:27.
Tush said that of all the lessons the team learned from racing at Rim Rock, the biggest was to start fast and establish their position early. That strategy helped the team at the Lansing Invitational.
“We definitely got out faster today,” Tush said. “We knew it was a bottleneck, so we had to get out quick.”
Kayla Peterson also ran with the leaders for much of the way and finished 13th in 17:15.
Also for BLHS, Brooke Redmond was 17th in 17:39, Shelby Miles was 18th in 17:48 and Sheridan Miles rounded out Basehor’s first five by placing 21st in 17:58.
Casey Mahoney finished 27th in 18:39 and Megan Rehm was 30th in 18:43.
Tush said she was excited about how well the team competed. She also was pleased to run so well personally because she missed the meet last year with an injury.
“This is the first time I ran here because at this time last year I was broken,” she said. “I remember last year this very course, I was on my crutches just crutching up and down these hills cheering for my teammates and wishing I was running. It feels so good to be back.”
Although Tush and most of the Bobcats are healthy, they are awaiting the return of freshman Haley Stallbaumer from a stress fracture. Venema said Stallbaumer hoped to be cleared by doctors within the next week or so, and her return would bolster the varsity lineup even more.
“That will be huge if we can get her back, but we’ll wait and see,” he said.
Venema also was pleased with the way his boys squad competed on Thursday. The Bobcats finished third in the team standings and were led by top-10 finishers Brady Blackwood and Mike Torrez. Blackwood finished eighth in 17:32 and Torrez was ninth in 17:41.
Also for BLHS, Bryce Garver was 15th in 18:07, Tony Almeida was 18th in 18:19, Wyatt Kelly was 19th in 18:28, Mitchell Cook finished 25th in 18:43 and Brad Waterman was 29th in 18:56.
“Our boys did a lot of things we’ve never done before,” Venema said. “We had seven guys under 19 minutes; we’re not even close to having done that before in any venue in the seven years that I’ve been the coach. We beat Tonganoxie for the first time, I think, since 1982.
“I’m really happy for our boys. They did not run well at Rim Rock. They ran a much more determined race today, and I’m really delighted about that.”
The Bobcats will be back in action at 4 p.m. today at the Pleasant Ridge Invitational. It is the team’s final tune-up before postseason competition begins.