Several Gardner Edgerton High School cross country athletes earned a trip to the 5A state meet after posting qualifying marks in the St. Thomas Aquinas 5A regional at Johnson County Community College, Oct. 23.
The Lady ‘Blazers placed three runners in the top 20 and brought back a third-place team finish. St. Thomas Aquinas took the team title with a low score of 17 followed by Blue Valley, 61; GEHS, 74; Bishop Miege, 115; Mill Valley, 128; and Pittsburg, 135.
Leading the way was Ali Daniels who clocked a 4k time of 16:35 – good enough for sixth place. Right behind came McKenzie Scroggin in ninth place with a personal best 16:40. Dana Goodwin followed with a 12th place and personal best 16:48; Katie Groshong, 16th, personal best 17:12; Anna Gardiner took 35th, 18;29; Kristen Moore, 44th, 19:15; and Nicole Stroda, 46th, 20:21.
The girls qualified as a team and will enter all seven runners. The top five Lady ‘Blazers will figure in the scoring.
“I was real pleased with the girls’ effort,” said Coach Larry Ward. “We’ve had a lot of advresity to overcome this year and several girls have stepped up. To take third in this regional is quite an accomplishment.”
On the boys’ side, where the races were 5k, Dewey Molenda set the pace with a 16th-place time of 18:15. Arron Scott was the other qualifier posting a 20th-place time of 18:27.
Just missing state qualification by two spots was Chris Kreiser, who finished 27th in 18:54. Justin Wilde turned in his best performance of the season finishing 28th in 19:03. Austin Gruber took 32nd in 19:18; Omar Quantana, 33rd, 19:22; and Nathan Fox, in his first varsity race, took 42nd in 20:23.
Teamwise, St. Thomas Aquinas won the title by a 29-53 margin versus runner-up Mill Valley. Blue Valley followed with 59; GEHS, 122; Miege, 128; and Blue Valley Southwest, 146.
“I was very proud of the boys’ effort,” added Ward. “This is a very young team that competed well and ended the regular season on a positive note.”
The state meet unfolds at Rim Rock Course in Lawrence, Oct. 30. The 5A girls race is set for 10 a.m. and the 5A boys get underway at 11 a.m.