But that didn't mean there weren't some ballyhooed area runners on hand, or a prepared staff that in a day's notice accommodated more teams than expected and somehow pulled off a meet, which as late as Thursday evening was canceled by Kansas University officials because of Tuesday's national tragedy.
"A big thank you to (Free State) coach (Steve) Heffernan, Free State administrators and workers for taking this on," Lawrence High coach Dick Reamon said. "It was a lot to go on with 24 hours notice. There was strain on the limited help coach Heffernan had.
"Coach (Bob) Timmons' course was just beautiful and ran well."
It was Reamon's team that ran the Rim Rock course well Saturday, winning the boys title with 50 points, holding off Liberty, Mo., which took second with 67 points. Free State finished fourth with 142 points.
Three Lions finished in the top 11 of the 5K event, led by Dylan McClain, who finished third with a time of 16:52. Justin Riley took seventh while Andy Struble finished 11th.
John Zehr and Adam Beals finished 16th and 17th, respectively, while Free State's Jason Jenny was the top placer for the Firebirds finishing sixth.
"Our boys really ran great," Reamon said. "It's the first time the Liberty boys have been defeated in a good long time.
"We talk and talk and talk about the success of five runners. It's what cross country is all about. You get the fifth runner in and close the account. We had five in the top 16 (actually, five in top 17), which is what it takes."
The Lions also had some success on the girls side, as Sarah Butler and Meg Gentry placed 24th and 28th, respectively. Free State's Mallory Richardson helped the Firebirds place eighth out of 17 teams while taking eighth herself, finishing the two-mile race in 12:18.
"It was about perfect as far as racing conditions go," said Richardson, a junior who tied Free State's school record Saturday. "I was looking forward to having the big meet and see how I did against such high competition, but I think we all did pretty good.
"I still have my work cut out for me, I want to break 12 minutes in the two-mile."