Baldwin City — Free State’s Logan Sloan paced himself along with the front pack of runners Saturday.
With 800 meters left in the 5-kilometer race, the junior separated from the pack en route to his victory at the Baldwin Invitational cross country meet. He finished in a time of 16:15.1.
“Logan has learned how to compete and race very well this year,” Free State coach Steve Heffernan said. “He started out strong last year, but struggled to stay at that level. This is redemption week for us, because this is about where everything came apart last year. I was excited to see him do what he did today."
Free State sophomore Kain Anderson and senior Chris O’Brien finished fourth and sixth, respectively, as the Firebirds tied Baldwin for the team title. Baldwin officially won the meet, as Free State didn't have a sixth runner.
“We’ve been having a lot of injuries, and this was the first time we put together a full team,” Heffernan said. “I thought we ran really well. Our top three ran great today. Mike Spielman (Baldwin coach) and I were co-captains at KU, so I guess if we can share being captains, we can share a championship at Baldwin.”
Peter Leslie and Harrison Schieb finished 19th and 27th, respectively, for the Firebirds.
On the girls side, junior Hayley Francis led Free State Saturday. Francis placed seventh. Sophomore Lynn Robinson (23rd), senior Libby Wiebe (29th) and junior Amy Meyers (43rd) rounded out the Firebirds team.
“We only ran four girls as injuries continue to be our main competition this year,” Heffernan said. “We had two girls run pretty well. We hope to get a team together by mid-October.”
Baldwin easily won the girls team title as it scored 30 points, which was 40 fewer than second place. The Bulldogs were led by freshmen Sienna Durr (second) and Kaitlyn Barnes (third). Senior Connor Twombly (fifth) and Julie Hill (ninth) also placed in the top 10 for Baldwin.
Junior Tony Weiss (second) and sophomore Brian Wright (third) were Baldwin’s top finishers in the boys race.
Free State and Baldwin will compete at the Jayhawk Invitational Saturday at Rim Rock Farm.