Tiger runners among front of the pack
1. Falls City 49
2. Atchison 73
3. Hiawatha 77
4. Sabetha 85
5. Savannah 99
6. Silver Lake 129
7. Nemaha Central 156
8. Holton 210
Girls Team Standings
1. Hiawatha 44
2. Atchison 47
3. Savannah 69
4. Atchison County 72
5. Falls City 121
6. Holton 163
The Falls City boys cross country team has set a fast pace to the 2015 fall campaign, capturing a treasure trove of medals en route to a repeat championship at the Hiawatha (KS) Invite last Thursday, which succeeded a runner-up finish at the Fairbury Invite Sept. 10.
The Lady Tigers, while not off to as blazing a start as the guys, have set a strong pace themselves, finishing third at Fairbury and fifth last week down in Kansas.
The season started at the competitive Johnson CC Invite Sept. 4 in Tecumseh. Senior state qualifier Lainey Larsen and junior Kyle Leafty medaled for their respective teams, each finishing ninth overall in the season opener.
“The teams got off to a slightly slower start than what I would’ve liked to have seen,” Coach Cody Hawley said. “The boys will continue to get better throughout the season and the girls can get better if we work on a few details during the week of preparation of practices.”
How right he was.
A week later at Fairbury, Leafty was runner-up and so was FCHS. Leafty was one of four Tiger male medalists, including sophomore Dylan Leafty (10th), senior Anthony Baker (14th) and junior Brett Black (16th), and the boys finished runner-up to Syracuse in a field of 14 schools (nine with team scores).
For the girls, Larsen finished fourth and Cheyenne Dovel (15th) and Lauren Bierman (20th) also left Fairbury with medals, as the Lady Tigers were third, running behind only champion Fairbury and runner-up Syracuse.
“I was very proud of the way every member of these teams ran,” Hawley said. “They each took a good step forward in their training and their ultimate goal of finishing well at the end of the season.”
The girls were excited to finish so close to Syracuse, the district champion last year,” Hawley said. “The girls know what needs to be done to narrow the gap. Our time gap has to improve for us to be successful at the major meets.”
This Thursday’s meet at Nebraska City would qualify as such.
FC is certainly entering the race at Wildwood on a high note, having just repeated as champs on a hot afternoon at Hiawatha.
Kyle Leafty was third at Hiawatha, and a total of five Tiger guys claimed medals. In addition to Kyle Leafty (17:58), Dylan Leafty (12th, 19:27), Black (13th, 19:30), Baker (16th, 19:35) and junior Brody Smith (22nd, 20:19) captured hardware at Hiawatha.
“The boys repeated as the team champion because of great efforts,” Hawley said.
“They have the potential to be very good, but the 2nd – 4th runners have to get close to the front. Our district is going to be challenging. They will have to improve to give themselves a chance to be in the Top 3 teams in the district.”
The girls were lead by a 12th place finish by Larsen.
“The weather really affected them and they struggled to run up to their potential. They will continue to work hard and push themselves.”
Dovel came in 27th at Hiawatha, followed by Bierman (32nd), Morgan Roberts (37th), Kirsten Carter (40th) and Mary Patnode (45th).
In JV competition, Zach Petry was the top Tiger runner, as he finished 11th, followed by Jake Craig (13th), Dakota Fisher (16th) and Brody Bindle (27th).
The cross-country teams travel to Nebraska City on Thursday, Sept. 24. The junior high will also be running at this meet.