BLHS cross country sweeps titles at West Franklin
The West Franklin Invitational on Thursday served as a measuring stick of sorts for the Basehor-Linwood boys cross country program.
The Bobcats hope to qualify for the Class 4A state championships, and they found out how they stack up against one of last year’s top programs when they edged Labette County for the team championship.
“We were fortunate to squeak by them,” BLHS coach Jeff Venema said. “They are very good.”
Labette County is one of the top programs in Class 4A, placing eighth at the 2010 state championships. The school only lost one runner from that team.
“I think they were surprised to be beaten,” Venema said.
Labette County runners finished first and second in the race. Basehor-Linwood senior Jonathan Oliva placed third in the 5K race in 18 minutes, 37 seconds.
Casey Jones, a BLHS freshman, propelled the Bobcats with a memorable performance on his birthday. He finished in fourth place with a time of 19:10.
Jones passed a Labette County runner late in the race, which helped Basehor-Linwood pull off the upset.
Tanner Travis placed sixth with a time of 19:22, Mark Vitt was seventh in19:29 and Luke McGowan took eighth in 19:45.
McGowan ran very well in his first varsity race.
“He will only get better and better as he gains experience,” Venema said.
In the girls’ race, freshman Quinnlyn Walcott dominated the 4K race with a time of 16:44. She led the team to a first-place finish with 34 points.
“Walcott was terrific and blew away the competition,” he said. “She is establishing herself as Basehor-Linwood’s next great distance runner. We will see how she handles expectations. If you ask any of her old coaches, the just rave about her — and so do I. She is a great kid.”
Ally Laney placed third with a time of 17:20. Rebecca Carroll finished 10th with a time of 18:50. Haley Stallbaumer was 11th in 18:53. Keirsten Lindelof took 12th in 18:57. Sarah Rehm placed 13th with a time of 19:05.
Walcott, along with Laney and Oliva, will be running at the Kansas City Metro Cross Country Championships Saturday at Raymore (Mo.) Peculiar.
“It's an opportunity for those kids to compete on a big stage with the area's top runners,” Venema said. “It should be a fun experience. It's too bad that Hannah Tush is working back from an injury or she also would have competed there.”
The rest of the team will compete in the Baldwin Invitational.