The Olathe night sky lit up arguably one of the biggest meets that Derby will see.
Hosted by Olathe North, the Derby girls’ cross country team finished 10th and saw three girls finish within the top 28 runners.
Vivian Kalb, who had the Panthers’ best finish at state last fall, became the first female runner in program history to break 20 minutes in the 5K. The sophomore ran nearly a full minute faster than her time at Rim Rock on Oct. 27, 2018, and finished 14th in Olathe. She was joined by teammates Abigail Monaghan (20:13) and Ashlyn Struble (20:34) as their top finishers.
On the boys’ side, Dylan Roe (18:06), Magnus Moeder (18:15) and Aidan Wells (19:00) all slid just inside the top 100.
Coach Jimmy Adams said the degree of competition played a role in seeing his runners elevate their performances.
“We always have fast runners in our area, but our girls ran in an impressive pack of kids,” he said. “The first 40 or so girls all ran under 21 minutes and that’s just not a typical 5K in the Wichita area. They had a lot of kids to push them.”
Last year, the girls’ team made its first trip to state in six years. With five of those runners back, the door to a return to Lawrence is open. However, Adams wants to see his girls focus amidst the expectations.
“We reiterated this week that we don’t care how the season finishes as long as we go out and do our best,” he said. “We also put in front of them that they’re right around a third-place finish at state if they stay focused and want to go get it. That group of girls wants it, so it’s pretty cool.”
The boys’ roster took a blow when Adin Gilmore was ruled out for much if not all of this season due to injury. Adams said Roe, Moeder, sophomore Evan Franke and Wells are just a small part of an evolving boys’ roster that cut nearly a minute off its average time in Olathe.
“They’re goofy as heck, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “This group wants to be good and [they] miss having Adin around, but they’re doing what they need to do.”
1. Morgan Koca, Mill Valley, 18:36.50
2. Alexa Rios, Maize South, 18:49.20
3. Aubree Blackman, Olathe West, 18:49.70
4. Katie Schwartzkopf, Mill Valley, 19:02.60
5. McKenna Polus, BV Southwest, 19:03.00
14. Vivian Kalb, Derby, 19:54.00
21. Abigail Monaghan, Derby, 20:13.10
28. Ashlyn Struble, Derby, 20:34.70
76. Bridget McAdam, Derby, 21:50.00
100. Gretta McEntire, Derby, 22:39.80
103. Lexi Silva, Derby, 22:47.10
GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Mill Valley, 70
2. Olathe North, 76
3. Olathe West, 84
4. St. James Academy, 162
5. Maize South, 172
10. Derby, 217
1. Dillon Grover, Blue Springs South (Mo.), 15:55.20
2. Kaden Cooley, Olathe West, 16:02.20
3. Rylan Brown, Washburn Rural, 16:07.80
4. Caleb Wright, Washburn Rural, 16:08.00
5. Felix Cruz, Omaha South Magnet (Neb.), 16:08.60
85. Dylan Roe, Derby, 18:06.80
93. Magnus Moeder, Derby, 18:15.20
97. Aidan Wells, Derby, 18:19.00
117. Isaac Brown, Derby, 19:00.00
120. Evan Franke, Derby, 19:02.90
BOYS TEAM SCORES
1. Blue Springs South (Mo.), 94
2. Mill Valley, 111
3. St. Thomas Aquinas, 114
4. Olathe South, 116
5. Washburn Rural, 142
17. Derby, 470