Deeper field expected at Bonner Springs Invitational
The Bonner Springs cross country team will try to protect its home field at 9 a.m. Saturday when it plays host to the Bonner Springs Invitational at Wyandotte County Park.
More than 20 schools from both sides of the state line will be on hand for the meet, which will feature the unusual format of having the varsity races first. The varsity girls start at 9 a.m., followed by the varsity boys at 9:30. Then the junior varsity races will take place, followed by middle school races.
The meet has seen a bit of a renaissance in the past few years. It used to be one of the biggest races in eastern Kansas when it was held on the high school campus, according to Braves assistant coach Rob Marriott, but attendance dwindled when the race was moved to the park.
The exodus is ending, however, and team participation has surged this year. Among the teams in attendance will be reigning boys and girls Class 2A state champions Maranatha Academy, Class 4A powerhouse De Soto, strong Class 5A programs from Lansing, Mill Valley, Bishop Miege and Topeka Seaman, and Class 6A Olathe Northwest.
“(The race) is bigger than last year,” Marriott said. “Saturday morning meets are more popular, and when you have your course measured to an exact distance over and over it makes teams more likely to come out. This year we changed the start and finish lines, which will both be near the amphitheater parking, lot making the race more accessible for fans.
“Add that with the fact that a lot of the schools are familiar with the course because we held 4A and 5A regionals last year, and it’s in the Kansas City Metro area — plus you can go up into the middle of the park and see the whole race.”
Marriott went on to say how much the Wyandotte County Parks and Recreation Service had done for Bonner Springs High School in helping it put this event together. The park is always well-maintained, they built a bridge for the runners and donated the paint for the course.
“They really went the extra mile,” Marriott said.