HESSTON, Kan.—Bishop Carroll’s Kaelyn Balch doesn’t care much for running in the heat, but that’s what she needed to do Thursday in Hesston.
“I’d rather run in the snow,” she said. “It was really hot out there today, so I was just trying to hold in there and keep a strong pace.”
Balch was pushed by Lincoln’s Jenna Farris, a perennial state title contender in 2A, in for much of the race, but was able to pull away at the end. Farris finished in 14:59, her personal best and first time under 15 minutes.
“Running in the heat is not my favorite,” said Balch. “I tried to keep a positive outlook throughout my race.”
The heat didn’t much affect Farris, whose main problem was the fact there wasn’t a whole lot of water to be found at the meet.
“I really like racing (Balch),” said Farris. “Running out west, we don’t really get as good of competition until the state meet. These big meets get me ready for state with the crowds and all the runners.”
Farris won the 3-2-1A senior girls’ race with her personal best time. She beat Ellinwood’s Jenna Snell by almost a full minute. Snell finished in a time of 15:51.
On the boys’ side, Salina Sacred Heart’s Cory Donley won the 3-2-1A senior boys’ race in a time of 15:55.02. He was also the overall winner of the senior boys’ race as he beat Brandon Lewis of Derby who finished in 16:06. However, Lewis was the 6-5-4A champion. Donley beat Mark Sutton of Oxford who finished with 16:57.58.
Lewis won the race over Carroll’s James Hampton, who finished with a time of 16:34.
“I feel I did ok today,” said Hampton. “It’s still the beginning of the season and I’ve been struggling with allergies, but it was a pretty good race.”
Hampton did much like other runners and measured himself against the other runners in the state. The Hesston Invitational is one of the largest meets in the state, so he used it as a time to assess where he is as a runner.
“It’s definitely a big race for me,” said Hampton. “As a team, we’re going up against a bunch of bigger schools and also from other classes. It gauges how well I’m doing and also how the team is doing against these other schools. Some of the best schools in Kansas are here.”
Even though some of the best teams in the state were in Hesston Thursday, the Carroll boys still came away with the 6-5-4A win with 29 points. In second place was cross-town rival Kapaun with 31 points.
The Garden City girls’ team took three of the top five spots. Alex Miller won the junior girls’ race with a time of 15:29. She beat out Mady Nestor of Maize South, who finished with 15:34.
“The three of us help each other along,” said Miller. “If someone starts to get tired, we encourage and push one another. If we do well, it obviously helps the team.”
Kayla Doll took third in 15:38, seven seconds in front of teammate Chelsea Jackson. In fifth was Maize South’s Katherine Trumble with a time of 16:06.
The Douglass girls’ won the 3-2-1A team title with five points, four ahead of Ellinwood.