Teams from all across the Kansas City area participated in various meets last weekend, but three of those were the most prominent.
It started last Friday with the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota, where a handful of teams competed in one of the largest meets in the nation. Each race saw more than 450 runners, with some easily crossing the 500 mark for participants.
In the girls division, two-time reigning Class 6A state champ Olathe West wasn’t able to come away with a second-straight team victory, but the Owls finished third among 53 teams. Although they didn’t win, the Owls’ five scoring runners averaged a slightly faster time than they did a year ago. They also shrunk their 1-5 split down to 30 seconds.
Olathe West scored 142 team points to place third – 30 fewer points than it scored last year to win the event. Wayzata (113) just edged out Cherry Creek (114) for the team title.
The Owls were once again led by the same trio of Charis Robinson (21), Kate Miller (22) and Bree Newport (29). Right behind them was Paige Baker (31) and Sydney All (45).
Also competing in the girls race was Olathe North, which placed 21st, and Shawnee Mission North, which didn’t field a team score. The Eagles were led by two-time defending state champ Anjali Hocker-Singh, who placed 26th overall. It was just her second meet of the season. The Eagles’ other scoring runners were Shea Johnson (95), Cora Katzenberger (152), Makenzie Crum (175) and Ava French (196).
Brenna Murphy paced SM North at the meet, placing 113th. Also competing were Brittney Betancourt (234), Elise Dummermuth (275) and Erika Nunez-Siguenza (405).
SM North and Olathe West competed with full teams in the boys division, as well as Lee’s Summit West, which ran in the boys maroon division. The Owls placed 22nd, while SM North finished 38th as a team. Gunnar Hornung was once again the top runner for the Owls. He placed 81st in a race of over 500 competitors. Also scoring points for the Owls were Jack Miller (143), Braxton Theel (159), Connor Lyons (180) and Logan Montgomery (182).
Micah Blomker had a very good race for SM North. He finished ninth overall in a time of 16:01.2. The next four SM North runners were Diego Rojas (140), Gage Chapman (222), Gavin Mongtagne (322) and Nathan Schweiger (367).
Lee’s Summit West won the boys maroon division with an average scoring time of 17:31, which would have placed it the middle of the top division. Regardless, it was a win for the Titans. They placed two runners in the top 10 and all five scoring runners in the top 45.
Jack Williams led the way with a fourth-place finish in a time of 16:50. Just four spots and 15 seconds behind him was Caleb Benton. Kaden Deain (33), Caden Morby (40) and Sam Mathis (44) rounded out the Titans scoring.
Gans Creek Classic
Boys Gold Division
Liberty North made a bit of a statement at one of the biggest meets in the state of Missouri last weekend. The Eagles won the top division of the Gans Creek Classic, besting the two teams who beat them at the Class 5 state meet last November.
The Eagles scored 103 points, holding off runner-up Hillsboro by 15 points. Last year’s state runner-up, Rock Bridge, finished third with 134 while defending state champ Kickapoo placed fourth with 156 points.
Sage Wilde continued his great junior season by finishing runner-up in a time of 15:01.8. Connor Burns, defending Missouri Class 3 state champ, won the race just four seconds ahead of Wilde.
Jorge Perezruiz and Grayson Tapp also finished in the top 20 by placing 16th and 18th, respectively. Asher Curp (32) and Collin Kleinhen (37) rounded out the team scoring for the Eagles.
Boys Blue Division
Park Hill South led several area teams in the Blue Division. The Panthers placed fourth with 246 points. Freshman Thomas Garrett paced the way with a sixth-place finish in a time of 16:33.5. Fellow freshman Grant Windmeyer finished 14th, running 17:12.4.
Cross-town rival Park Hill placed eighth as a team with 301 points. It was led by sophomore Jakob Johnston, who finished 35th.
Girls Gold Division
Blue Springs won the top division of the meet, narrowly beating a couple of other KC area teams. The Wildcats scored 130 points, holding off Lafayette (Wildwood) by one point and Ray-Pec by 11 points.
All five scoring Wildcat runners placed in the top 45 individually. Leading the way was Abigail Brackenbury’s eighth-place finish in a time of 19:00.6. Kyla Weems also finished in the top, placing 17th for the Wildcats. The other scoring runners were Paige Stuart (29), Ava Power (41) and Faith Fotiades (45).
Ray-Pec was led once again by Ashlyn Smith. She finished sixth overall, crossing the finish line in 18:50.2. The next four Panthers were Avery Raymond (18), Alexis Borum (22), Brooke Stephenson (48) and Isabel Chatfield (56).
St. Teresa’s Academy had two runners in the top 15, helping it place fifth as a team. Gracie Jacobs (14) and Wynn Generally (15) were the Stars’ top two performers.
Girls Blue Division
One of the top runners in the area placed fourth individually in the Blue Division. Harrisonville sophomore Kayleigh Norris, who recently set a new school record, finished the 5K course in a time of 18:58.3 – 30 seconds ahead of the next runner.
In the team standings, Park Hill finished third overall, just behind Platte County. Park Hill was led by junior Natalie Gerdes, who placed 12th overall in a time of 20:32.3.
Rim Rock Classic
Girls Gold Division
Although Blue Springs South won the team title, the story of the race was arguably Salina Central sophomore Katelyn Rupe. She blitzed the field, winning the race in a time of 17:45.5 – beating the runner-up by 56 seconds.
Piper senior Grace Hanson finished second in the race, running 18:41.9. Shawnee Mission East’s Lida Padgett also finished in the top five, placing fourth overall in a time of 18:49.1. Other top 10 performers from the area were Washburn Rural’s Peyton Fink (7) and Mill Valley’s Charlotte Caldwell (10).
Blue Springs South won the top division, scoring 144 points in a narrow victory over Washburn Rural. St. Thomas Aquinas (8), SM East (9) and Mill Valley (10) rounded out the top 10 teams.
The Jaguars won without placing anyone in the top 20, but their 1-5 split was just 30 seconds. Their top five runners were Caitlin Grover (21), Magdalene Boley (25), Ella New (31), Emmerson Allen (40) and Ashlyn Wahrenbrock (42).
Girls Crimson Division
St. James Academy left Rim Rock with the Crimson Division title. The Thunder scored just 62 points in the 32-team race. All five of their scoring runners were in the top 21, led by Quinn Hays’ sixth-place finish. The next four runners were Katie Price (10), Katelyn Menghini (13), Annie Wilken (16) and Sophia Hance (21).
Smithville’s Naomi Hunter won the race, finishing the 5K course in a time of 19:21. Eudora’s Sydney Owens placed 11th overall to lead the Cardinals to a fifth-place team finish.
Boys Gold Division
A great race between two local runners came down to the finish. In the end, it was SM East senior Wyatt Haughton clipped St. Thomas Aquinas senior Colby King. Haughton’s winning time was 15:18.5, with King coming in less than a second later.
Haughton had two teammates also finish in the top 10. Seniors Caden Peters and Blair Ptacek placed fifth and ninth, respectively. They helped lead SM East to the team title, scoring 119 points. The other two scoring runners were juniors Evan Whittington (46) and Rowan Gibson (62).
Blue Valley Southwest finished fifth as a team, led by junior Thomas Caul, who placed seventh overall. Also finishing in the top 25 were teammates Micah Paschke (18) and Crew Buehler (24).
Reigning state champ Olathe South placed sixth as a team at Rim Rock. Three Falcons finished in the top 35. They were senior Bennett Meoli (15), sophomore Dylan Path (31) and senior Tyler Burns (34).