Cards take third in invitational
Eudora freshman cross country runner Sean Wiard surprised himself with some early success this season.
"At first I thought every race had a freshman race or JV," Wiard said. "I saw the other (team members) race before and they were a lot faster (than me)."
Luckily for the Cards, Wiard's rapid progress along with strong senior leadership means a competitive cross country team. Sophomore Scot Mullis' improved health has also added a boost to the team.
"Sean's getting a better feel for what it takes with long distance running it's just experience," said Eudora coach Paul Boone.
The Cardinals placed third in the seventh annual Eudora High School Invitational. Seniors Andy Besser, 18:39, and James Barr, 18:56, finished eighth and 10th out of 54 runners, respectively.
According to Boone, it was Wiard, who finished 17th, 19:37, sophomore Scot Mullis, 25th, 20:05 and senior Austin Roberts, 27th, 20:15, who secured a top-three finish for the Cards in the 3.1-mile race.
"Our 3-4-5 runners made the difference in the last mile," Boone said."I thought we'd have to run really well to be in the top five. Louisburg and McLouth beat us two weeks ago at Tonganoxie."
Wiard, who medaled for the second time this season, moved up 10 spots in the final mile of the race.
Gardner-Edgerton, 34 points, won the meet with junior runner Aaron Ballew winning the boys race. Wellsville runner Chris Caruthers won the race last fall and placed fourth this year. The Eagles were second with 66 points.
Eudora had 85 points with Louisburg and McLouth in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Oskaloosa, 155, Bishop Seabury, 160, and Santa Fe Trail, 178, rounded out the top eight.
On the girls side, freshman Megan Ballock led the race in the first mile and took home a fifth-place finish,13:28, in the two-mile race. Fifty-two girls competed in the race.
Despite the stellar finish, Ballock said she was eager to race at courses with hills.
"We run it in practice sometimes, and I don't like it that much," Ballock said of the flat Eudora course. "I like courses with hills and everything."
Fortunately for Ballock, the Cardinals regional meet is at Tonganoxie, Ballock's favorite course.
"I like that course and I'm glad it's there," Ballock said.
Sophomore Jacqueline Pyle, 14:45, and freshman Tori Tunget 14:59, were 24th and 25th, respectively.
McLouth runner Courtney Edmonds won the race for the second straight year.
Eudora will compete in the Frontier League cross country meet Thursday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence.
"We've got a great league," Boone said. "Everyone that finished in front of us went to state."
Boone has fond memories of the course at Rim Rock Farm and thinks his runners will enjoy the course former Kansas University track coach Bob Timmons created.
"I love it, and I've run it before as an athlete so I know how tough it is," Boone said. "Coach Timmons put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this course. It's almost sacred ground."