First place isn’t good enough for Graff
Sure Brittney Graff was excited.
But when reflecting on Saturday's cross country race at Rim Rock Farm, she could only talk about what didn't happen.
"I just wish we could have ran against Baldwin," the junior said.
Eudora didn't get to face highly-touted Baldwin, but Graff excelled nonetheless and will have to settle for winning one of the most prestigious races in the region.
Graff toasted the field and won the crimson division of the girl's cross country meet. While it was a field that didn't include Baldwin, which raced in the gold division, Graff did best some of the best runners in the state and the region and led her team to a sixth-place finish among some top Class 5A and 6A schools.
"Today she went in with the idea 'I'm going to get with the leader and stay on her shoulder and when I move; I'm going to make it a strong move,'" Eudora coach Paul Boone said.
It was a winning strategy. Graff hung with the leaders through the winding 4-kilometer course and kicked hard as the pack emerged on a ridge. She had a comfortable margin of victory when she sailed down the final slope to finish with a time of 15 minutes and 26 seconds.
Megan Ballock, who was stricken with mononucleosis a year ago and missed the race, finished 32nd at 16:48 and Lauren Colman and Emily Ballock ran together, finishing 60th and 67th with times of 17:28 and 17:33.
Graff's run vaulted Eudora in the standings, but the whole team earned the sixth-place mark. Eudora was the only 4A school in the 35-team race, but the team managed the 217 runners rather well.
"We'd have liked to have gotten in the top four, but we're pleased with it," Boone said. "We usually make our schedule tougher. I want girls to come in here who are confident enough to attack this course. This can be really overwhelming. That's a giant race, maybe too big. I think our girls are ready to be challenged."
Cody Burns placed 21st in the boys blue division race, finishing five kilometers in 18:18.
Not his best, but not bad either, Boone said. With a young boys team, the early and middle parts of the season are still devoted to building up, and Boone saw enough to be convinced his guys can make a run for the state meet.
Tim DeArmond finished 37th with a time of 18:58 and Joey Chino was 49th in 19:12, all right on schedule, Boone said.
"That's not a bad time for this course," Boone said. "He had a great two miles in this race and faded a bit in the third mile, but he's doing fine. We're not peaking at all for this course."