Senior Roy Wedge of Lawrence High certainly deserves all of the recognition he can get.
At state this year, he ran a 15:43.86, placing first. In fact, he finished first in eight of 12 meets this season and finished second in four others.
He is a dedicated co-captain and team leader who just enjoys the sport.
“I guess I just have a competitive nature,” Wedge said. “I love to run.”
Wedge runs cross country, track and swims. Many of his friends all participate in these same three sports.
“Cross country is about the friends you make and the fun you have,” Wedge said. “I’ve been running with some of these guys since my freshman year. As a team we’ve stuck together.”
Wedge best remembers finding out that Lawrence High had won state with 71 points, breezing past second-place Washburn Rural with 103 points. The team anticipated a win after last year’s surprise victory. After the win, the team congregated around Wedge.
“With something like state, it’s never over until it’s over,” Wedge said.
Since his freshman year, Wedge said he feels he has become less of a whiner.
LHS coach Brain Anderson thinks his leader has become a more intelligent runner.
“He knows how to run a smart race, and he’s very strong,” Anderson said. “He knows how to plant himself in the right locations in order to be where he wants to be at the end of a race.”
During the summer, Wedge helped motivate the team on morning runs. He said he prefers cross country to track because he enjoys the scenery.
Wedge is still unsure of where he wants to go to college next year, but he knows that he would like to run wherever he ends up.
“Roy’s outstanding leadership was one of the reasons that we had such a successful season,” Anderson said. “He led his teammates in workouts, and he led by example.”
While Wedge spent his high school career climbing the ranks, things have been quite different down the road in Baldwin City, where freshman Sienna Durr exploded onto the scene and became a known commodity during her first season as a varsity runner.
During the 2009 season, Durr established herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Her Baldwin High girls cross country team won state this year, and Durr came in fourth with a time of 15:53.92 in the 4,000 meters.
“She had a great freshman year,” coach Mike Spielman said. “She was able to get better each meet and run her best race at the end of the year. She did really well in a very tough state meet.”
For Durr, Baldwin’s win at state was the highlight of the season — specifically winning by a lot, Durr said. Baldwin finished with 40 points. The second-place team, De Soto, had 92 points.
To prepare, Durr said she trained hard over the summer.
Sienna’s older sister Calleigh graduated from Baldwin in 2009. She helped the Bulldogs win three state titles. Also, Durr and her mom regularly run together, Spielman said.
“She had a great junior high school season last year so she had some experience,” Spielman said. “She worked hard every single day in practice.”
The Bulldogs placed six runners in the top 18, making them clearly the strongest team out there. Spielman expects the team to grow stronger for Durr’s next three years.
“The closeness of our team makes it very fun,” Durr said. “It helps a lot just starting high school to make friends through cross country.”