Basehor-Linwood girls notch second straight cross country title
The Basehor-Linwood girls cross country team is two-for-two this season.
After claiming first place at the Bobcat Invitational a week earlier, the Bobcat girls raced to a first-place finish at the Atchison County Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Basehor dominated the competition and compiled a team score of 42. Holton finished a distant second with 75 and third-place Tonganoxie had 77.
One Bobcat helped Basehor-Linwood pull away from the other teams in the meet, and it might be an unexpected runner.
Casey Mahoney rounded out the Bobcats’ entrants with a time of 19:35, and her team’s performance was instrumental in the wide margin of victory.
“I thought Casey Mahoney ran the best race of her life,” BLHS coach Jeff Venema said.
She performed well in her slot for the Bobcats.
Each meet, Venema picks a school that they are close to and tries to beat them. Each runner receives the task of trying to beat a girl with a similar time from the selected school.
“Casey beat some girls that were three slots above where she is,” Venema said. “It turned a tight meet into a rout. That created a huge advantage for us. She ran a terrific race and was strong throughout.”
Basehor-Linwood was balanced during the meet.
Kayla Peterson led all BLHS runners, placing third in the 4,000-meter race with a time of 17:23.7. Hannah Tush placed fifth with a time of 18:14. Shelby Miles placed 13th with a time of 19:19 and Brooke Redmond placed 14th in 19:24.
“We were very dominant in this meet on the girls’ side,” Venema said. “It was very pleasing. It lets us know that if we continue to work as we do in practice and stay healthy, this can be a great year. We are two-for-two in meets, and that is very pleasing.”
The runners have worked hard this season.
“We are asking them to do things that in prior years teams were not capable of doing,” Venema said. “It is so pleasing, their willingness to work hard. They see the connection between working hard and success at meets.”
The hard work started in the summer when Basehor-Linwood runners ran on regular schedules.
“A lot of them are walking around in 200 mile T-shirts they earned during the summer,” Venema said.
The miles ran helped the team get in shape and improve for the season.
Now, the miles are paying off for the Bobcats.
The BLHS boys finished sixth as a team in the 5,000-meter competition after winning their home meet a week earlier.
Brady Blackwood led the way with a ninth-place finish in 19:21. He made a strong push at the end of the race to finish in the top 10.
“It made a huge difference in slotting that I want to do,” Venema said. “It was a guts run, it told me that having a very good race isn’t enough. I thought he ran one of the most courageous races we have had on the boys’ side in a long time.”
Blackwood is developing as a cross country runner.
“I think he is figuring out how good he is,” Venema said. “He just never suspected that if I put in a lot of hard work, it would lead to stellar performances. He is realizing that if I work hard, something good is going to happen.”
Wyatt Kelly placed 24th with a time of 20:09.1. Mike Torrez placed 25th with a time of 20:09.2. Rob Peterson placed 34th in the race with a time of 20:52. Brad Waterman placed 38th with a time of 21:09. Bryce Garver finished 39th in 21:10 and Tony Almeda was 40th in 21:11.
Runners need to do a better job of slotting in their assigned categories, Venema said. They have to defeat the runners that they have been assigned to try and compete against from other schools.
“We need to run at a certain level to have a chance,” Venema said. “We are closer to our rival teams than we’ve been in years and years, and we are determined to catch up this year.”