The Olathe West girls cross country team looks primed to bring home a third-consecutive state championship this fall, while the boys team will continue to battle through a tough regional in hopes of making it to state.
On the girls side, the Owls graduated only their seventh runner from their state team that brought home a second-straight title. They were challenged by Olathe North for the championship, but the Owls prevailed to bring home the gold.
The boys team graduated its lone state representative in Aidan Reyna. The Owls lost only two runners from the regional team, and all five of them were underclassmen. Could the Owls make a move this fall?
Both teams begin their season Thursday at the Greg Wilson Classic, which will be run at Shawnee Mission Park, beginning at 4 p.m.
Olathe West coach Kelsey Carbajo recently answered some questions about her team and what to expect this fall.
How did the summer go for your teams?
The summer went really well for both our boys and girls. We had a crew travel to Oregon for Nike Nationals, so they had a little bit of different training plan, but the rest of the team logged several miles this summer. We had great attendance this summer and kids worked their tails off. Our summer camp at Bridge 23 is always a game changer for us. While we are there, the kids are able to run and make several memories that they will have for a lifetime. We are very excited to officially start and watch all of their hard work pay off.
Who is returning from your varsity squads from last fall?
Our girls will return six of the seven who ran on the state team. They are Charis Robinson, Paige Baker, Aubree Blackman, Kate Miller, Bree Newport and Liz Browning. We also have some girls who have improved tremendously since last year and some freshmen who will play a huge role in our season.
We also return a very strong boys team. Last year we had Aidan Reyna who qualified for state and placed. He was a great leader for these upcoming sophomores and juniors last year. They have been working extremely hard this summer, and it has been awesome to watch them improve and come together as a team.
Who are some newcomers or up-and-comers to varsity that you think might make an impact this season?
Our entire girls team has made some huge strides since last year. They work as a team and push each other to run their very best. Our boys are in the same boat. There are several who run together and push each other each day.
What excites you most about this year’s teams?
What excites me the most is their love for running and their dedication to training with each other. They are just good kids who work hard and push each other. Both boys and girls are on a mission this year. They have worked their tails off to get to where they are. I am just excited to watch all of their hard work pay off this season.