Graff golden girl again
Seven Eudorans medal at muddy invitational meet
After the rain, the Eudora Cardinals cross country team reined-in a pair of top-three finishes at Friday's Ninth Annual Eudora Cross Country Invitational.
The Invitational was originally scheduled for Thursday but rain and lightning postponed the event until the following day -- a sunny albeit soggy afternoon.
Despite the disruption, the Cardinal girls earned a team silver and the boys a team bronze. Seven Cardinals medaled in the mud: Megan Ballock, Brittney Graff, Johanna Rahmqvist, Katelyn Reese, Cara Seats and Cody Burns and Tim DeArmond.
Graff's medal was gold.
"Expect the best and prepare for the worst," head coach Paul Boone said. "That is our motto even in practice, so the conditions were nothing new for our runners. I was very impressed with how they dealt with the disappointment of not running Thursday and came out Friday focused and ready.
"With this meet, they are on auto-pilot, with coach Kuhlman and myself busy with running off the meet. Excellent warm-up and mental preparation put our girls in a good spot."
De Soto finished ahead of the Eudora girls with 28 points. But the Cardinals' 59 points were safely ahead of third-place Gardner Edgerton's 114.
Osage City (121) and McLouth (123) rounded-out the top-five.
Perry-Lecompton (147), Bishop Seabury (166), Spring Hill (179) and Wellsville (190) finished six through nine.
Silver Lake competed with an incomplete squad.
"The girls second place to De Soto -- we can and will run better," Boone said. "It was great having Megan Ballock back. She looked good in her post-mono debut.
"Brittney did what she knew she had to do -- take control early and never let up. She has won three meets in a row and is running very confidently right now.
"Cara had a less-than-great race. She has had good workouts, so I look for her to really blossom in the next two weeks.
Johanna also has better races in her. This is her first opportunity to see what our league competition is like. She will rise to the occasion on Thursday.
"Our two freshman ran OK as well, with Katelyn medaling and Lauren Colman finishing just out of the medals."
Graff's meet championship was her third in a row. Her 12 minutes, 14 seconds claimed the title on a modified home course.
Rahmqvist finished 11th with a 13:39.
Ballock returned from her illness to post a solid season best 13:48, which was good enough for 14th.
Reese finished 22nd with a time of 14:09. And Colman crossed in 30th with her 14:31.
The boys third-place finish was the story of the race.
Gardner Edgerton (31 points) and Louisburg (75) edged Eudora's 100 points. Wellsville (100) and Spring Hill (108) rounded-out the top-five.
McLouth (112), Perry-Lecompton (166) and Bishop-Seabury (171) completed the boys field.
"I was ecstatic for the boys team, medaling behind 5A Gardner and Louisburg," Boone said. "Cody and Tim ran consistent races, and our 3 to 6 guys competed well. We tied with Wellsville with 100 points but our sixth man finished two places in front of their sixth to give us the third-place medals.
"I have consistently asked a lot out of this group, and their efforts paid off Friday"
Burns finished in the top-10 for the third consecutive race. His 18:10 placed him in eighth.
DeArmond (18:14) also cracked the top-10 in ninth.
Sean Wiard placed 27th with his 19:55. Jared Reetz crossed in 43rd with a time of 21:01. Kent Abel finished one second and two places back of Reetz in 45th with a 21:02.
And Andy Schultz' pivotal 21:23 placed him in 51st.
The boys 1 through 5 time gap of 2:52 was season-best.
The regular season is over for the Cards. From here it's on to Thursday's Frontier League Championships at Lawrence's Rim Rock Farm.
"Our home meet is important for the kids to get a bit more exposure," Boone said. "However, there are bigger fish to fry with league and regionals coming up.
Boone said the girls team is holding a steady seventh in the state and are poised to make a late-season run. The team will run all seven girls for the first time in three weeks at the meet.
"League is going to be tough with the new additions. If you only see one race this year, this is the one to see. We have three state quality teams facing off the next two weeks in Eudora, De Soto and Baldwin.
"The girls' race is going to be one to remember for cross country fans.
"Our league is one of the best in the state and our boys have their own battles to face. Now is the time to break personal records and go after people."