EHS runners strong at Gardner and KC Metro Invitational
JoAnna Male had never run on the cross country course in Gardner until last Thursday.
But her inexperience with the course hardly slowed her down as she finished in seventh overall with a time of 18:17 to lead Eudora’s girls squad that finished in fifth place at the meet.
Male said the course, though, wasn’t quite what she expected.
“It was pretty fun,” she said. “There’s even a ledge you had to jump off and it was a drop of about three feet, so it was pretty fun. It was pretty treacherous, really.”
Male, a senior, is running cross country for the first time. She previously took part in soccer and track before opting for 4K runs.
“I decided to do cross country and challenge myself because I’m not one who really likes running, but I know I’m going to get in awesome shape,” she said.
Following Male for Eudora was Joanna Buchner who finished in 25th at 19:55, Frenanda Garcia came in three spots later at 20:03 and Molly Brunton came in at 20:07 to finish 31st. Hannah Pittman came in 36th, Whitney Weld finished 38th and Bria Carder placed 45th, respectively.
Eudora ran partial squads at the Gardner meet because it also ran Saturday at the Metro Invitational at Peculiar, Mo.
Though the boys did not place as a team at Gardner, coach Paul Boone saw some encouraging signs from his young squad.
Freshman Keenan Wood finished 62nd out of 66 runners, but sprinted to the finish line and nearly caught the two runners who were in front of him.
“I just wanted to put all my effort into it and try my best,” Wood said. “I think I should improve my running ability and put it on the field, but I really tried my hardest to catch those two guys.”
Wood crossed the finish line at 24:51 and said he enjoyed running the course, despite it having a lot of hills and turns and, of course, the ledge. Wood ran track last year and said he decided to go out for cross country this year partly because his father was a cross country runner, and Keenan wanted to experience the sport himself. Wood said this season has been both good and bad.
“I like it,” he said. “But it’s been difficult. I want to cut down my time a little bit and get to 20 minutes.”
Boone said Wood’s effort at the end of the race was a prime example of what the sport is all about.
“That’s the thing about cross country,” Boone said. “No matter where you’re at in the race, no matter what you’re time is you compete to the end. That’s the essence of cross country. No matter where I’m at, no matter what’s gone on I am competing and I am a competitor. I’m going to do the best today that I can do and leave it at that.”
Boone said his team mostly preferred to run on more traditional courses and not golf courses.
“We really don’t like golf courses all that much,” he said. “We’d rather run on a rocky, winding trail but this is for competitors. This is a competitor’s course and that’s what cross country is about. The heart of cross country is competing and just getting after it. That’s what we’re about.”
Garrett Zook finished in 35th in the race at 20:43, Isaac Smoots came in 43rd at 21:36 and Colin Forsberg came in 48th at 22:34 for Eudora.
At the 5K Metro Invitational Kaya Riemann finished second in her division at 21:06. Teammate Chelsea Grammer finished 18th at 23:41. Ivan Espinosa led the boys squad in his division at Metro coming in third place at 18:19. Colby Root came in at 18:31 and Nima Jafari came in at 18:36. Alex Tacke completed his run at 19:34 and Chase Brecheisen finished at 19:44. Eudora’s next run is the Frontier League meet Oct. 16 at Gardner. Boone said with just a few weeks left before the state meet, his team was steadily building momentum.
“Things are fun when you spend yourself for a cause,” he said. “This is important. They work hard in practice and come out and have fun and build that attitude. That’s what we want. There’s a lot of joy from that.”