Cardinals take a bite out of Bulldog country
Girls second, boys sixth at Anderson Co. opener
The Eudora Cardinals cross country season is off and running.
Eudora joined a prestigious field at the Anderson County Invitational cross country meet Thursday for the season-opening effort. On an unseasonably pleasant day, the Cards netted a second-place finish on the girls' side and a sixth-place finish from the boys.
The girls finished second for the second consecutive year at the Garnett Country Club.
For the boys, this year's meet marked a solid improvement over last season's eighth-place finish.
All in all it appeared to be a successful kick-off.
"It was a good team effort in a 13-school event," head coach Paul Boone said. "This is a pretty big meet, with state team qualifiers Baldwin (boys and girls), Wellsville (3A girls), Iola (boys and girls), Independence (boys), Garnett (boys), and Eudora (girls)."
The state champion Baldwin girls finished in first with 26 points, just ahead of Eudora's 59. Wellsville took the bronze with its 84-point effort. Iola (85), Pomona (89) and Osawatomie (160) rounded out the top six.
Also in attendance but fielding incomplete teams were host Anderson County, Independence, Louisburg, Kansas City-Piper, Marmanton Valley, Prairie View and Santa Fe Trail,
Individually the girls were strong as well. Five Eudora girls medaled. And four Eudora girls set personal best course times -- sophomores Brittney Graff and Christina Pyle and juniors Cara Seats and Tori Tunget.
Graff finished second overall with a personal record time of 12 minutes, 10 seconds -- the second best all-time by a Cardinal on the course.
Senior Swedish exchange student Johanna Rahmqvist (13:03) placed fifth overall in her Cardinal debut. Junior Megan Ballock came in 13th with a 13:55 finish.
Seats cracked the top-25, finishing 25th with a time of 14:26. Freshman Katelyn Reese began her high school cross country career placing 28th with a 14:31. Tunget placed 37th with her 15:15, and Pyle landed in 46th with a time of 17:06.
Boone's all-important time splits found a gap of 2:21 between the first and fifth Cardinal runners, and a 4:56 split from runners one to seven.
It was a nice beginning for a team with high expectations. The Cross Country Coaches Association Pre-Season Poll listed the Eudora girls at No. 7 in 4A.
For Boone, the name on the poll is as important as the teams in it.
"The pre-season ballot is dedicated to the memory of Coach Jim Maska, the very successful Hays High School cross country coach who passed away suddenly in August 1994," Boone said. "The athletes who Jim Maska coached won many team honors, including five state team championships during his 26 years in coaching. With respect, we name this ranking ballot in his honor."
The top-ranked Baldwin boys' 19 points claimed the Anderson County meet title as well, completing the common Bulldog boys and girls sweep. Independence followed with 87 points. Anderson County took third with 91.
Iola (96) and Louisburg (140) edged Eudora (163) out of the top five.
Spring Hill (178), Wellsville (212), Santa Fe Trail (217) and Osawatomie (224) rounded out the top ten.
Pomona and Prairie View participated with partial teams.
Sophomores Cody Burns and Tim DeArmond each medaled, leading the way for Eudora.
DeArmond was the top Cardinal in 13th place with a time of 19:11. Burns placed 20th with his 19:32. Junior Sean Wiard took 32nd with a 20:23.
Sophomore Jared Reetz set a personal record at 22:11, finishing 45th. He surpassed his previous best by more than 30 seconds.
Three more sophomores followed in 60th, 61st and 62nd places -- Kent Abel (24:33), Andy Schultz (24:52) and Paul McCleery (25:18). McCleery set a personal record in the process, besting his previous mark by 22 seconds.
The time gaps for the boys were less ideal. The gap between the first and fifth Cardinal boys was 5:22, and a 6:07 gap between the first and seventh Cardinal.
Seven Eudora boys set course best times -- Abel, Burns, DeArmond, McCleery, Reetz, Schultz and Wiard.
"We had a good effort on the grass links of the Garnett Country Club and are looking forward to next Saturday's meet at Wamego," Boone said. "We have two weeks of country-clubbing before heading for the backcountry of Rim Rock Farm, north of Lawrence, on Nov. 18."