The fleet footed members of SM North’s and SM East’s cross country teams showed they are ready to make a run at some state title hardware this Saturday by qualifying for this year’s Kansas 6A meet.
As they’ve done throughout the year, SM North’s boys and girls bested the field, both earning Regionals titles and a trip to the state meet. In the race Saturday at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, SM North’s boys edged SM East for first place, with SM North’s brothers Belesti and Alex Akalu taking first and second place in the individual standings, respectively. SM East’s Lance Meng finished neck and neck with SM South’s Mitchell Brock, taking third place by a hair.
The Lancers put more runners in the top ten, with John Arnspiger, Jack Young and Michael Wiggins all placing high. But the Akalu brothers’ performances coupled with an eighth place finish by senior Noah Stevenson were enough to give the Indians the title.
On the girls side, the Indians had four runners — Amber Reed, Samantha Taylor, Cassie Raines and Kathryn Kasunic — among the top ten, which put them comfortably in front of second place finisher SM Northwest in the team standings. The Lancers finished sixth among the field of seven in the girls division.
The Indians boys’ average time of 16:28.28 was the second fastest among the 23 6A teams that competed in three regionals across the state this weekend. Only Olathe East, which won the regional at Lone Elm Park with a team average time of 16:21.82, was faster.
No girls team, however, put in a faster regional performance than the Indians, who ran an average 19:25.12.
The state cross country meet will be this Saturday, Oct. 31, at Rim Rock Farm five miles north of Lawrence. The 6A girls race will begin at 11:30 a.m. The boys meet will be at 1:45 p.m.