VanAnne, Ballock shine at runners’ landmark meet
It was an amazing week for Eudora High School athletics. The football team ran its record to 3-0. The volleyball team took its record to 14-0. The soccer team earned its first victory in school history. And last Thursday the cross country team had a record-breaking day at the Wellsville Invitational.
The Cardinals won the boys team and individual championship and the girls team and individual championship. It was the first time since the Wellsville meet in 1999 that Eudora claimed a boys and girls team championship on the same day.
"Our top kids in both races ran very well, but I was just as thrilled with how our three through seven runners ran," head coach Paul Boone said. "Our goal was to run well enough individually to put us in a spot to win the team titles."
To put the meet in perspective, Brittney Graff bettered the course record with a time of thirteen minutes and fifteen seconds yet finished second. Her teammate Megan Ballock ended up with the record time of 13:11 and the individual championship.
Tighe VanAnne had a breakout performance, winning the boys individual championship with his season-best 17:56.4. VanAnne's time was the second-fastest time by a Eudora runner and seventh fastest in course history by any runner.
"I've been coaching here since 1988, and I don't ever remember having two individual champions and two team champions at the meet," Boone said.
Cara Seats joined Ballock and Graff in the top four. Her season best 14:05 was the fifth fastest time ever by a Eudora girl on that course.
Regan Sisson ran a very solid race, finishing seventh with a time of 14:21. Tori Tunget ran her season best 15:04, finishing 11th. And Christina Pyle obliterated her personal record by nearly a full minute, finishing 18th with a time of 17:36.
The boys placed three other runners in the top 11 -- Cody Burns (ninth, 19:41), Sean Wiard (10th, 19:43) and Tim DeArmond (11th, 19:46).
Mason McCurdy, much like Pyle, destroyed his personal record and finished 23rd with a 20:59. Matt Morgan also made a significant improvement on his personal record, finishing 37th with a 22:33. And Kent Abel finished just a couple spots behind in 40th place in 22:55.
A new statistic that Boone is stressing to his team is the gap between the first and fifth runners on the team and the first and seventh runners on the team. The top five runners are responsible for the team's scoring.
"This will be a focus in practice and meets as we build toward league and regionals," Boone said. "We must continue to close that gap."
The girls had a 1:53 gap between first and fifth and a 4:25 gap between first and seventh. The boys had a 3:02 gap between first and fifth and a 4:58 gap between first and seventh.
"We competed, which is what we are looking for anytime, anywhere and against any competition," Boone said. "We're still moving forward, this just puts us one step closer to where we want to be."
The next step for Eudora is at 4 p.m. Thursday in Tonganoxie.