SM North XC teams capture first place for second week in a row

The Akalu family celebrated after Belesti and Alex's speedy performances Saturday. Photo via SM North Athletics Twitter.
The Akalu family celebrated after Belesti and Alex’s speedy performances Saturday. Photo via SM North Athletics Twitter.

There’s just no stopping the speedy SM North cross country teams lately.

For the second week in a row, both the boys and girls squads took first place at a major metro area meet.

Led by brothers Belesti and Alex Akalu along with senior Noah Stevenson, the boys easily beat out second place finisher Blue Valley Southwest at Saturday’s Bonner Springs Invitational. Belesti finished first among the boys with a time of 15:29.22. The second place runner, Greg Flores, of Leavenworth, was more than 30 seconds behind. Stevenson finished fifth overall at 16:35.59, and Alex finished seventh with 16:40.69.

Belesti missed his fastest time of the year, 15:27.53 set at last week’s meet, by just over two seconds. He currently has the second fastest 5000 meter time in the state behind Riley Osen of Winfield High School, who put in a 15:25.85 earlier this season.

On the girls side, the Indians were led by junior Amber Reed and senior Samantha Taylor, who finished neck and neck for fifth and sixth place. Reed came in at 19:37.69 with Taylor at 19.38.99. Katie Kasunic put in an excellent performance as well, finishing in 14th place and helping the team take the top spot among the 18 schools in the competition.

The Indians will try their luck against some stiff regional competition next week when they travel to Oklahoma State University for the OSU Jamboree meet.