Tonganoxie It was just another race and another gold medal for Eudora High cross country runner Brittney Graff, last year's Class 4A state champion and the 2005 Girls Area Runner of the Year.
"You can never have too many (gold medals)," Graff said following Monday's race at the Tonganoxie Invitational. "I like them."
The Cardinal runner said she pretty much knew the gold would be hers right out of the gates. She finished in 15 minutes, 11 seconds, 1:19 ahead of second-place finisher Katie Hirsch from Perry-Lecompton.
"After the first curve, I didn't feel like anyone was even near me, and it was hard," Graff said. "It was hard to push myself because I didn't have anyone there pushing me."
Fellow Cardinal runner Joey Chino made it a Eudora gold-medal sweep, winning the boys race in 17:21 and a 17-second margin over Tonganoxie's Matt Brock.
"Joey, Cody (Burns) and Brittney have all put in a lot of miles together," Cardinal coach Paul Boone said. "Those are kids that ran to Baldwin this summer from Eudora."
The strong finishes of Brock, Chris Price (20) and Colin Perkins (21) put the Chieftains in second place as a team. Anderson County won the boys team title.
Tongie's girls also came away with a team plaque finishing third thanks to the top-15 finishes of Andie Jeannin (8) and Christy Weller (13).
"Our girls beat the teams we were hoping to - like Eudora, for one," Chieftain coach Phil Williams said. "But we had a couple of injuries. They ran in the girls race, but they didn't run as well as they usually (do)."
Mill Valley's girls came in one point ahead of Shawnee Maranatha to claim the girls team title thanks to a third-place finish by Kelsey O'Hara and a ninth-place showing by Sarah Broadbear.
With all the large schools running, Seabury Academy almost seemed lost in the fray. But Bill Butler gave the smaller school a swagger with his 23rd-place finish.
"For our team, it's preparation for our league events - regionals and state at the end (of the season)," Seahawk coach Eric Nelson said. "And everything just builds toward that. This is just another learning experience racing against bigger schools ... so today was just a workout for us."