Cross country team takes first and third at Greg Wilson Classic

11 medalists establish promise for state competition

Aiden Burke, JagWire assistant editor

Following countless triumphs from last season, the cross country team kept in stride as they opened their season at the Greg Wilson Classic Saturday, Sept. 7. While the girls varsity team won the meet, the boys varsity and girls JV teams both took third, accompanied by the boys JV team in seventh.

Head coach Chris McAfee believes the meet served as a boost in team confidence that will stick with them for the rest of the season.

“[The meet] exceeded a lot of [the team’s] expectations as individuals but also as a group,” McAfee said. “I think it was a great opener for us, a great confidence booster, and something that we can definitely take with us to work and use to help us improve throughout the year.”

In the girls race, senior Morgan Koca took first place, followed immediately by sophomore Katie Schwartzkopf in third, both fully prepared to maintain their team’s reputation from last year. 

“I knew after last season that we had some big shoes to fill, but I think we definitely did that today,” Schwartzkopf said.

Following Schwartzkopf and Koca, senior Molly Haymaker finished in fifth place, junior Molly Ricker in eighth and senior Jenna Walker in 13th, all receiving medals for placement in the top 20.

With five individual medalists in the girls varsity race, McAfee believes that they put themselves in a really good position for the rest of the season.

“Schools like Olathe North and Blue Valley West are going to be the biggest competition on the girls’ side,” McAfee said. “They will be good competition for us and allow us to see where we stack up right now. We still have a little bit to learn and figure out what the rest of the season will mean for us, but we seem to be in a pretty good place.”

In the boys race, senior Darius Hightower led the team in 10th place, followed by senior Jack Terry in 12th and junior Cameron Coad in 16th. Hightower emphasized the importance of keeping the team placing closely together in order to place higher at the meet.

“[The team] stuck together and we had a 30 second gap between our first and fifth runner,” Hightower said. “Obviously we want to have a chance at the state title; in order to do that, we want to get our [first five runners] down to around 20 seconds in between [each other].”

McAfee thinks their performance drove the team further toward their goals of team betterment over the season, especially foreshadowing success on the state level.

“I think [the meet] helps us reflect on ourselves and improve as a group, have topics we can discuss and keep working toward getting better every week,” McAfee said. “If we know nothing else after today, we know we have a shot. We know that one of our goals is a real shot at state and we have a chance to achieve that goal.”

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