Regional XC: Kapaun’s Enriquez, Carroll’s Jackson both win big
Golden Eagles sweep 5A regional titles at Brown Thrush Park
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Kapaun Mt. Carmel Erik Enriquez stuck with the top four runners for the first two kilometers of Saturday’s regional championship before breaking away and cruising for the win.
“(This win) feels really good,” said Enriquez. “I came in knowing I was going to have good competition between Emporia’s top guy (Treyson True) and Carson (McEachern of Bishop Carroll). So I was going to try to stick with them and push when I thought I had the race. I pushed and just went with it.”
He broke away from the group and continued to break away, finishing with a time of 15 minutes, 18 seconds, almost 30 seconds faster than second-place McEachern, who finished in 15:43.
The course at Brown Thrush Park in West Wichita was one of the flattest courses around and Enriquez enjoyed it.
“I didn’t really have to worry about any hills,” he said. “There’s a lot of turns but it’s all wide open so I knew that if I was going to make a move, it was going to need to be a good move because there’s nothing to hide me. I knew I was going to be fast, but I knew everyone else was going to be fast, too.”
Enriquez was comfortable throughout the race and his final time showed that.
Andover Central’s Brett Schoenhofer finished third in 15:50, Emporia’s True finished fourth in 15:54 and Goddard Eisenhower’s Jacob Fawson rounded out the top five in 16:27.
Carroll won as a team with 50 points, Eisenhower finished second with 70, and Andover third with 71.
Carroll’s Hope Jackson dominates
Hope Jackson is in prime form, improving on her state championship performance from last season. Saturday, she crushed her competition with a time of 17:58.
Jackson finished 58 seconds faster than second-place Kelsey Bruening (18:56) from Kapaun. Running a sub-18 minute race was a goal Jackson had all season.
“It feels so good because like all season, that’s been my goal,” she said. “Every week I wonder if I’m going to do it. Today I was like, ‘I gotta go for it.’ So I did and I think I did it.”
It was a perfect storm for Jackson as the course was flat, and she loves running in cold, cloudy weather.
“The course definitely helped,” she said. “It wasn’t short, though. So that makes me feel good that I actually earned it. That course did help, I think.”
The junior followed her race plan to a T. She wanted to get out fast and keep it there throughout.
“The plan was that I was going to start off fast and push through the middle of the race because that’s usually when I slow down and so I really focused on trying to do that and it paid off,” Jackson said.
Andover’s Elizabeth Vetter finished third in 19:00, Carroll’s Landon Forbes was fourth in 19:09 and Addie Curtis from Kapaun finished fifth in 19:19.
Jackson led her team to the win with 35 points as Kapaun finished second with 48 points. Andover finished third with 78 points.
The class 5A state meet will be at Augusta’s 4-Mile Creek Resort on October 31. Gates open at 8:30 A.M. and the boys run at 9:30 and the girls will race at 10:05.
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