SM North cross country dominates at Rim Rock, taking boys and girls Sunflower League titles

SM North's cross country teams celebrate their titles at the Sunflower League Meet at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. Photo via Jill Molina on Twitter.
SM North’s cross country teams celebrate their titles at the Sunflower League Meet at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. Photo via Jill Molina on Twitter.

It was a record-breaking Saturday for SM North’s cross country teams at the annual Sunflower League Meet held at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence.

Both the boys and the girls teams took first place, earning the Indians top seeding heading into next week’s regionals competition and securing All-Sunflower rankings — given to runners who finished among the top 20 individuals — for eight SM North runners. They are:

  • Amber Reed (5th)
  • Samantha Taylor (7th)
  • Cassie Raines (9th)
  • Katie Kasunic (11th)
  • Molly Ryan (19th)
  • Belesti Akalu (1st)
  • Alex Akalu (3rd)
  • Noah Stevenson (7th)

Brothers Belesti and Alex Akalu continued their spectacular season for the boys with Belesti beating second place finisher Ethan Donley of Lawrence Free State by more than 16 seconds with a 15:37.50. That finish, combined with a third place performance by Alex and a top-ten performance by Stevenson, helped the Indians edge top-ranked Olathe East by two points.

SM East’s boys had a strong showing at Rim Rock as well, finishing third in the team rankings. Both the Lancers and the Indians will be headed back to Lawrence for their regional meet next Saturday.