The Fly Route
Great news from the Eudora cross country team: Brittney Graff wasn't the only one possessed above and beyond picture organizing abilities.
The Eudora girls team won its first race in more than a year Thursday, topping a mediocre field of current and former Frontier League members with solid races all around.
Afterward, as their own way of celebrating, both the boys and the girls teams gathered for pictures both normal and out there. (It should be noted the team may not have been celebrating with the aforementioned pictures -- they take them pretty much as long as no one passes out on the course requiring serious medical attention, regardless of the race's results.)
There was something to celebrate, however. Eudora didn't tangle with its more recent menacing goliaths, Baldwin and De Soto, but the team ran well even though it was evident the runners didn't feel very good.
The course in Wellsville was different, encompassing more hairpin turns and fewer long straight-aways than the most annoying of racing video games.
Eudora ran it expertly, however -- both the boys and the girls. It happened despite what was an obviously hard week of work for the team.
Eudora coach Paul Boone -- a fine picture organizer in his own right -- always talks about the big picture, especially at this point, in the early and middle stages of a season.
That the Cardinals were thinking big was evident.
Emily Ballock dug deep to get first place, but couldn't outlast her top challenger, looking positively zapped after a hard week of workouts that didn't let up for the Wellsville race.
The finish was similar nearly everywhere else -- good, strong races were capped by exhausted, juice-less finishes.
Tantalizing Eudora freshman Juan Ramirez even said he was told to hold off a little down the final stretch.
It's not about winning in September for Boone -- its about running well in October. He's obviously got another squad that can do just that, too.
Eudora isn't overly deep again this season -- they haven't been blessed there in recent years. The girls perhaps present as strong of a front five as they did a year ago, however.
That seems a little insane -- Graff was one of the best runners in the state over the last few years and in school history. This year's squad is even a little deeper than last year's, plus a healthy Emily Ballock is running more like the star of track season than the middle-of-the-pack threat she was to this point in her cross country career. Liz Hoese and Lauren Colman have grown into dependable runners and emotional leaders and together, they're helping piece together a great season.
The boys too, unexpectedly, seem stronger than a year ago, as far as the team is concerned. The Cardinals could send two runners to state -- freshmen Ramirez and Ivan Espinosa -- and sophomores Zac Courter and John Hadl were both considerably better at Wellsville than they were last year, making for a little less power at the top of the lineup, but a stronger team throughout.
It all means someone needs to keep their digital camera charged up.