BSHS boys team, two Bobcats runners advance to Saturday’s state cross-country meet
This time around, Bonner Springs solidified its territory at Wyandotte County Park. A fifth-place finish for the girls team and third-place finish for the boys highlighted the event for the Braves.
On Saturday, junior Austin Schuler, sophomore Joe Casteel and senior T.J. Kimbrough-French helped the entire Braves boys team qualify for state.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats boys team was left out by a margin of 23 points.Schuler finished in 16th place with a time of 17:24, Casteel was two seconds slower in 17th place, and Kimbrough-French finished in 19th place with a time of 17:39.
Braves boys coach Bill Downing said the competition was tough, but the team was solid.
“They ran a plan to perfection today and I don’t know if I’ve had a team run it better,” Downing said. “You have returning state champions in Wamego and Basehor-Linwood’s been up there all year. For us to come out her and get third was pretty nice.”
Wamego, which will host the 4A state tournament on Saturday, finished first overall in the boys race with 25 points, with De Soto second at 37 points. Hayden finished in fourth place, just 13 points ahead of the Bobcats with 134 points.
“It’s always a mixed set of emotions when your goal is to get a team to state,” Bobcats coach Jeff Venema said. “When it doesn’t happen your extremely disappointed. However, we’re very excited for Luke McGowan and Mark Vitt who made it to state and will get to see how it feels.”
McGowan finished 18th overall with a time of 17:27, while Vitt finished in 22nd place with a time of 17:52.
“I’m excited, but I would have rath er made it as a team,” Vitt said.
Added McGowan: “It came down to who was going to push it a little bit harder and we were expecting it to be close."
After battling an injury for most of the year, Kimbrough-French was overwhelmed with what he had accomplished.
“Ever since I was a sophomore, coach Downing put me at co-captain and I’ve wanted to get my team to state,” Kimbrough-French said. “All of us worked our hardest and did what we were supposed to do and I’m proud of all of that.”
On the girls side, Hayden, De Soto and Wamego finished in the top three.
The Bobcats did not do as well as they anticipated, placing sixth with 177 points. Braves senior Mandy Ballou finished 18th overall with a time of 16:29, while Bobcats junior Rebecca Carroll finished 25th with a time of 17:10.
Braves girls head coach Rob Mariott said his team has come a long way from where it had started.
“We’re real ecstatic about where we ended up and had a bunch of young girls,” Mariott said. “Mandy ran her best time by 13 seconds and barely missed going to state. She’s been solid all year, setting the school record three or four times.”
Bobcats junior Rebecca Carroll finished in 25th place with a time of 17:10, while senior Haley Stallbaumer finished in 38th place with a time of 18:03.