In a time where temperatures are rising and Starbucks frequents every corner of a city, our Chesty Lions laid it all on the line to open the 2018 cross country season in Manhattan, Kansas. Now, it isn't easy to say they laid it all on the line, because I don't really know; I wasn't in their shoes. But by the way they flew over the hilly Warner Park course, and pursued relentlessly the last 100m, I would say they laid it all on the line. It was also apparent in the overall results. While we didn't have any Lady Lions in the top-20, we did have the top-5 girls all within 15 places of each other. This tight pack running awarded them 3rd place as a team -- the highest the team has finished since 2012, when they won the meet.
Our boys are another story. The what-ifs are plentiful, but at the end of the day our boys garnered 7th as a team. Although, had we had our full varsity team, I am without a doubt convinced that we would have snagged 3rd with the boys as well. Jack Ryan was our lead boy with an 8th place finish, as Cole Shupert fell in right behind in 10th. Ruben Littlehead captured the JV title with an all-alone-time of 18:27.
It was the aggressive running by both the girls and boys squads that we the coaches really romanticized. We have been trying to work on our positioning and pacing in workouts and, so far, they seem to be paying dividends. The runners crushed -- but didn't kill -- the first mile and attacked the hills to keep momentum in their favor. They pushed off harder and turned over faster on the downhills to put their competition at bay. They felt the pain coursing through their legs and shoulders but remembered that running is 90% mental, so they decided to grind harder and persevere.
It won't be for a couple of weeks until we have a full Varsity boys team, but I feel as though when that happens, sparks will fly. Having Jack, Cole, Ruben, Nicholai, and Jackson pushing each other and the other two in pursuit, our top-7 will definitely be ready to mingle with the best come Regionals.
As for our ladies. They have the guts and determination to make this season memorable. They put in the miles all summer with a vision in mind. They have done the work. Seeing them group together in a race will be vital to their success towards the latter part of the season. If Maiki, Layne, Leslie, Evann, and Sophie can continue to better themselves day-in and day-out, they will be right there with the boys in vying for a spot to go to State. It's a great time to be a Chesty Lion and we are excited to have lift-off to this already amazing season!