By Jimmy Gillispie
PECULIAR, Mo. — The race for the top three individuals was competitive Saturday, but the battle for the best girls team at the KC Classic was a one-sided affair.
Two of the best runners from Kansas and one from Missouri competed for the gold medal, finishing mere seconds apart. In the end, it was the defending Class 6A state champion who edged out her older competitors on the Raymore-Peculiar course.
Olathe North sophomore Anjali Hocker Singh won the 5K race in a time of 17:52.4. Six seconds behind her was St. Teresa’s Academy senior Amelia Arrieta, who’s official time was 17:58.4. In third place was Mill Valley senior Katie Schwartzkopf, running an 18:00.5.
A pair of runners from different Blue Valley schools. Blue Valley West senior Olivia Bakker (18:30.1) and Blue Valley senior Tori Wingrove (18:41.9) led their respective squads.
The next two runners were from Olathe West – the defending 6A team champs. The Owls’ top finishers were sophomores Kate Miller (6th, 18:55.9) and Bree Newport (7th, 19:00.6).
All five Olathe West runners finished in the top 30, with the sixth runner in the top 40. They were junior Charis Robinson (11th, 19:04.1), junior Paige Baker (26th, 19:52.8) and junior Aubree Blackman (29th, 19:54.3). Freshman Elizabeth Browning placed 38th in a time of 20:05.6 as the Owls’ sixth runner.
“Coming off the Griak win last week, I wasn’t sure if it would put pressure on them to have to do well, but all week at practice they stayed super focused,” Olathe West coach Kelsey Carbajo said. “They pretty much have been talking about one day at a time and trying to attack each day.”
Finishing second in the team standings was St. Teresa’s Academy, which scored 131 points to beat Blue Springs South by just two points. St. Teresa’s Academy came into the meet fresh off winning the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia, Missouri, a week prior.
The four runners behind Arrieta finished close together. A gap of 26 seconds separated the second and fifth runners from St. Teresa’s Academy. They were senior Sydney Swan (25th, 19:50.2), sophomore Hailey Scheuer (32nd, 19:57.1), sophomore Gracie Jacobs (37th, 20:01.6) and sophomore Lillian Grever (43rd, 20:16.1).
“We are very happy, because this is a huge field with 31 complete teams and teams from both sides of the stateline,” STA coach Karen Moran said. “The top three teams from Kansas were here, so it was terrific competition. We are very happy with the second-place finish today.”
Blue Springs South was led by a pair of runners in the top 20, in senior Mya Trober (10th, 19:01.6) and junior Magdalene Boley (20th, 19:43.1). The next three Jaguars across the finish line came in close together.
Junior Caitlin Grover (34th, 19:57.7) was the third runner on the team. Sophomore Emmerson Allen (36th, 19:59.5) and senior Amy Woolsey (20:06.7) were fourth and fifth, respectively, from Blue Springs South.
Mill Valley (156 points) and Raymore-Peculiar (170) rounded out the top five teams. The remaining top 10 teams, in order, were Olathe North, Blue Valley Northwest, Liberty, Blue Valley West and Olathe East.
Several teams will be giving their varsity runners the week off from competing with many league meets in Kansas less than two weeks away and the regional meets set for Oct. 23.