Matt Noonan's cross country achievements read like an impressive rmtwo state championships, dozens of meet medals, leader of the Bulldogs, etc.
But there was one race that had always slipped out of the Baldwin senior's grasp the Jayhawk Invitational. That was until Saturday.
But then again, Saturday's race at Rim Rock Farm wasn't really the Jayhawk Invitational. The usually high-caliber event was renamed the Revised Lawrence Invitational with significantly fewer participants when original host Kansas University dropped out because of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
But Noonan's enjoyment of his first victory on the legendary course owned by former KU coach Bob Timmons wasn't diminished by the supposed lack of competition.
"While there wasn't as much depth, team-wise, this meet was still strong individually," said Noonan, who won the 5K race in 16:03. "Out of all the people I wanted to race against, they were all here."
And they gave Noonan quite a fight.
After a strong start, Noonan found a steady pace behind Adam Perkins of Liberty, Mo., before finally overtaking him on Billy Mills Hill near the finish.
"I was really afraid that he would turn it up and pass me," said Noonan, the reigning Class 4A state champion in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. "He's got more speed than me, but at that point I think his legs were tired."
Noonan has won all three races he's entered this season.
"He's in a zone, he's keeps moving on up," Baldwin coach Mike Spielman said. "He gets what he wants to do in his mind and just goes out and runs after it."