VALLEY CENTER, Kan.—The weather was warmer and windier Thursday than Bluestem’s Brenda McCollum expected, and she felt it throughout the race. It didn’t stop her from taking home the title of Central Plains League champion, though.
“I’m used to running in the wind,” said McCollum. “My main problem today was the heat. It hasn’t been this hot for a while. That was the main thing that bothered me because this course isn’t hilly at all.”
McCollum was glad for Suzie Wright, as it allowed her to be challenged throughout the race.
“Douglass is near where I live and they’re supposed to be our school’s rivals,” said McCollum. “I wanted to beat (Douglass) and I did, so I’m happy.”
McCollum said she likes running against Douglass, a team that is going for its second-straight state championship.
“It’s fun to compete against them,” she said. “They’re really nice girls. They give you a good race, they won’t let you win easily.”
Trinity won the team title and Cheney took home the second place trophy.
On the boys’ side, Independent’s Jonah Aspegren kept his pace strong. His ability to keep his stride long and fast earned him the title of Central Plains League champion. He won the race with a time of 17:52.
“I didn’t really feel the heat too much today,” said Aspegren. “It was the wind more than anything.”
He had to push through to finish strong.
“On the first loop, I took it slow and stayed back a little,” he said. “But the second loop, when I took off, the wind hit me but I stayed strong and kept my stride and finished strong.”
Runner-up Micah Denning of Cheney provided the most pressure for Aspegren Thursday. Cheney took second place as a team, while Trinity won the league title.
The win for Aspegren gave him much more confidence in preparations for Independent’s regional meet.
“(This win) is definitely encouraging me to do better at regionals,” he said. “There’s some great competition at regionals so I hope to get in with the pack and do my best.”