Sophomores end season at state
Espinosa, Riemann finish 31st, 51st at Wamego
Sophomores Ivan Espinosa and Kaya Riemann did not medal at last weekend’s state cross country meet at Wamego, but they left the course knowing what they had to do next year if they want to be back running at state.
“We ran two good races and more importantly our kids are still hungry to see what they can do,” Eudora cross country coach Paul Boone said.
For the boys, Espinosa finished 31st overall out of 105 runners. He crossed the finish line with a time of 17:37. For the girls, Riemann finished 51st overall out of 104 runners. She finished with a time of 17:25.
Only the top 20 runners medal at sate, but Espinosa’s time this year would have medaled last year.
“I think he’s excited for what can do in the future,” Boone said. “If he is motivated and will put in the time and the work, the sky is the limit for that guy.”
Like he did during regionals, Espinosa began the race with a strategy of not pushing himself too hard at the start. He then steadily worked his way through the state field.
“His sense of what he can handle and where he’s at is kind of uncanny for someone as young as he is,” Boone said. “He’s just really cerebral in what he does. He’s very disciplined.”
Both Espinosa and Riemann battled injuries during the early part of the season and both of them weren’t sure if they would qualify for state.
“I’m really proud of both kids,” Boone said. “Neither of them knew where they were going to be at the end of the season. But if you would have taken their seasons two or three meets in you would have said their chances of making state were not good.
“But to continue to be disciplined enough and work every day and not worry about things and just take it one step at a time is very, very admirable and both of those kids did that.”
The boys and girls teams did not qualify for the state meet but Eudora took a team bus down for coaches and teammates to cheer them on.
“They don’t take it for granted at all,” Boone said. “They definitely respect the opportunity to run there and they did everything they could to prepare properly. They were excited and privilege to run there.”
For the boys teams, Mulvane finished in first-place, Wamego took home second, Baldwin took third-place, Paola fourth and De Soto finished fifth. Thomas O’Connell, Andover senior, won the boys race with a time of 16:31. Tony Weiss of Baldwin finished in second with a run of 16:37. Boone said when O’Connell was a sophomore at state, he ran just a few seconds faster than Espinosa did this year.
“Little facts like that are pretty motivating,” Boone said.
The Baldwin girls team took home the first-place trophy and the De Soto girls finished in second-place.
“I really feel good about the direction cross country is headed in the state of Kansas,” Boone said. “We’re really encouraged, too.”