VanAnne improves time at state meet, finishes 31 of 104
Eudora High School sophomore Tighe VanAnne improved at the 4A State Championship Course in Wamego by one minute and thirty-three seconds over his previous effort on Sept. 8.
VanAnne, who competed at the course in the Cardinals' second meet of the season, placed 31st out of 104 runners with a time of 17:35. Van Anne's time at the hilly course was his second fastest time next to the 17:32 personal record at the EHS Invitational.
VanAnne said that the Ottawa course made the hills of Wamego seem bearable. He also said that the turning point of the season came when he finished seventh at the EHS Invitational and set a personal record.
"It was a lot easier than Ottawa," VanAnne said. "After Ottawa, those didn't seem like hills."
EHS Coach Paul Boone said he was impressed with VanAnne's emergence as the team's fastest runner but the best may be yet to come from the first-year runner.
"He has a lot of potential and he is still learning," Boone said. "This was like the freshman year because everything was new to him. The 17:35 time was more significant than running 17:32 in Eudora."
With his impressive finish at Wamego, VanAnne moved into the fifth place of all-time best finishes at Wamego, bumping off 1996 3A team member Eric Bloom's senior time. Bloom's 17:14 finish at Wamego during his junior year still stands as the Cardinals single best effort at Wamego. VanAnne also holds the second fastest time at the Eudora course behind Kenan Staples, 17.29. The records date back to 1988, when boys' cross-country courses were lengthened from two miles to the current 3.1 mile courses.
During the winter, VanAnne will play junior varsity basketball and plans on competing in the two mile and two mile relay events for the track and field team in the spring.
Boone said he hopes that VanAnne's success, along with competition against the top two finishers in 4A, Baldwin and Tonganoxie, and a larger group of athletes will help the Cardinal's cause of qualifying for Wamego in 2002. Boone will also try to talk to middle school students to increase numbers for the girls' squad. While everyone except freshman Scot Mullis, who is moving to Alabama, will return for the boys' team, all three members of the girls' team, Jill Abel, Estelle Montgomery and Rhiannon Tiner are graduating in the spring.
"We improved our standings in league and regionals and qualified someone for state," Boone said. "We have a vision of making it to state but a lot of things have to happen to make it a reality."