WICHITA, Kan.—The Independent Panthers boys cross country team competed well last Thursday at the Council Grove Invitational by capturing the first four individual places. Independent placed first as a team with a score of 17—two points off of a perfect score in cross country—and defeated second place Maize South by sixty points.
Junior Jonah Aspegren led the way for the Panthers by taking first with a new personal best of 17:14. Finishing right behind him were seniors Jacob Campbell, Dylan Hernandez, and Zach Wolken. Senior Jason Ream rounded out the scoring for Independent by finishing in eighth place on an injured knee.
“I’m especially proud of Jonah. We knew he’d have a breakout meet sometime,” said Hernandez, one of the team’s captains.
Head coach Steve Riley said, “It was great to see Jonah run as good as he did. The exciting part is that the ceiling’s still even higher for him.”
One of the things that makes the Panthers strong as a team is that they have enough depth to change up the running order every meet. The team is noted for running together in a pack.
“I like that they can run well against themselves, too,” said Riley. “It was exciting to see them run together as well as they did—to see them come across with the top four places.”
While the team enjoyed its decisive victory at Council Grove, it is looking forward to the Central Plains League meet, and hoping to perform just as well there.
“We performed well, but now I think we’re ready for the league meet at Winfield where we have the potential to place our top runners really high,” Campbell said.
The Panthers will race one more time before their league meet on Thursday, Oct. 6 at Medicine Lodge.