Preps Notebook: Eudora headlines long state XC weekend; Baldwin soccer falls in 4A state quarterfinal
photo by: Ryleigh Hartwell/Eudora High School
Spectators likely guessed which school would take first place when Eudora High senior Sydney Owens and junior Hanna Keltner crossed the finish line first and second, respectively, at the 4A state cross-country championship over the weekend in Wamego.
Owens (18:47.90), the individual champion, and runner-up Keltner (18:59.60) carried the torch for the Cardinals’ third girls cross-country state title, leading the charge for a first-place team victory and a 20:11 average race time between four Eudora runners.
Owens and Keltner ran, essentially, the same race until the very end. Owens said she was beside her teammate for four-fifths of the course.
“If you know, you know,” Owens said. “It’s a very popular course, very hilly … (The win) was very unique and special with (Keltner).”
Whatever was fueling Owens that day seemingly infected Keltner, as well.
“I was on a runner’s high,” Keltner recalled. “You don’t see it every day finishing first and second at a cross country meet … There was a lot of support and emotions and this euphoric feeling … Everybody had one job and everybody knew their role and job on the team.”
Behind the two gold and silver medalists, sophomore Addison Williams (13th, 20:19.80) and senior Addison Metcalf (33rd, 21:17.90) rounded out the Cardinals’ final score (57).
In the boys’ race, Eudora featured just two runners. Senior Zachary Arnold claimed the individual runner-up (15:59.70) alongside senior Alex Clobes (35th, 17:37.40).
“I would not want anyone else to run with,” Arnold said. “We’ve shared a lot of cool moments together a little bit of butting heads, but I wouldn’t want to share that moment with anyone else … It was a great way to wrap up my career in cross-country.”
Baldwin, Tonganoxie XC make big strides at state
Eudora was hardly the only area storyline in Wamego this past weekend. The Baldwin High and Tonganoxie High cross-country teams strung together several medals on the course.
The Baldwin girls’ team claimed the state runner-up title, just 13 seconds behind Eudora’s average run time. Leading the charge were sophomore Irelyn Kennedy (fourth, 19:09.10) and freshman Shea Griffith (fifth, 19:44.10), who finished near the front of the pack.
Not far behind, the Bulldogs were reinforced in strong fashion by seniors Bailey Smith (21st, 20:37.50), Lily Brecheisen (22nd, 20:38.60), freshman Rachel Watkins (49th, 21:55.10), and juniors Marin Drummond (56th, 22:07.70) and Saylor Currie (83rd, 23:49.20).
On the boys side, the Bulldogs’ fifth-place finish was spearheaded by junior Nick Johnson (20th, 17:07.10), sophomore Xander Johnson (39th, 17:52.10) and senior Dylan Patterson (50th, 18:00.30).
In other 4A action, Tonganoxie finished third in the boys 4A state championships. Junior Solomon Carter was the frontrunner with a ninth-place finish (16:33.80) ahead of six more Chieftains.
Helping round out Tonganoxie’s 17:31 average time were junior Jett Gilmore (25th, 17:28.10), freshman Parker Welch (26th, 17:28.50), senior Michael Bottary (31st, 17:30.30), junior Piercen Eccles (68th, 18:35.20), junior Huston Albert (72nd, 18:40.50) and senior Joseph Turner (95th, 20:37.80).
Tonganoxie also featured two runners in the girls’ race – junior Kara Johnson (11th, 20:17.70) and senior Kinnley Hoffhines (34th, 20:18.20) – but didn’t qualify for a team score.
Free State XC finishes season strong at 6A state championships
Eight Free State runners gave it their all at the 6A state cross-country championship over the weekend at Rim Rock Farm. The day saw three Firebirds – senior Blake Wohler (13th, 16:06.30), senior Ryan Whittlesey (30th, 16:29.40), and junior Brylee Burns (27th, 19:45.80) – chalk up top 30 finishes in their respective races.
The Firebirds, finishing fourth among 12 schools in the boys race, showcased five more strong performances by senior Zach Hansen Terry (37th, 16:35.00 26), senior Jake Loos (38th, 16:36.20), sophomore Jonah Frye (39th, 16:36.60 28) and senior Cristian Wills (43rd, 16:40.70).
In the girls race, Burns and fellow junior Cayman Barnes (31st, 19:56.10) were the only Firebirds and couldn’t qualify for a team score.
Baldwin soccer falls to Bishop Ward late in 4A state quarterfinal
The final Frontier League team, No. 2 seed Baldwin High, fell out of the 4A state soccer playoff with a 2-0 loss to No. 3 Bishop Ward in the quarterfinal round at home on Tuesday afternoon.
A long, successful campaign for the Bulldogs (15-4-0) featured the best start in school history at 11-1 and ascended higher with a regional title banner last week. Those accolades were far from the conversation in the final moments of Tuesday’s quarterfinal match.
The Bulldogs built on last year’s success to compile a 16-game home winning streak. But two late scores by the Cyclones (16-3-0) ended what eighth-year Baldwin head coach Matt McCune considers one of the best teams of his career.
“That was rough,” McCune said. “I could tell five minutes in that it was going to be difficult … I felt like we hit a wall and it was an uphill battle. Sure enough, we made it right down to the end of the game … I think they’re anxious to go after that record again next year.”
Scoreless late, Baldwin seemingly set itself up for the win when sophomore midfielder Cooper Carr, who’d racked up an 18-goal season entering the match with the Cyclones, found the net on a loose block off Bishop Ward senior goalkeeper Rafael Zamora.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
The Bulldogs’ goal was removed due to an offside call and the Cyclones rolled down the field mere moments later to set up an ironically similar sequence, which saw junior forward Steve Wilson jump on a loose block by Baldwin junior goalkeeper August Boyle and score with just under four minutes remaining.
Bishop Ward cemented its victory with another goal, this time by junior forward Emmanuel Olvera on an assist from Wilson, during the final minute of the match. That score ended a season full of memories for the Bulldogs’ six seniors, including team captain Aidan Jameson.
“It stings, it just sucks that it’s (our) last year,” Jameson said. “I’m going to miss these boys but I have full confidence that they’re going to come back next year and bring it to ’em.”
Baldwin will host a banquet for its entire team on Sunday at Baldwin High School.