Boy Scout Zach Kelsay did his good deed for the day for the Blue Springs South boys cross country team Saturday morning at MCC-Longview.
The junior distance runner paced the Jaguars at Lee's Summit North's Kris Solsberg Invitational by finishing the 2.1-mile varsity race in 11 minutes, 41 seconds. Kelsay, who placed 11th, was among three Jaguars to finish in the top 25. Freshman Mason Smith placed 17th in 11:54, and senior Gabe Henks placed 19th in 11:59.
“He probably showed the best strength, as far as … the second mile (is concerned),” South coach Troy Harding said of Kelsay leading his team. “His pace didn’t fall off too much, which was why he moved up quite a bit on the second mile.”
Harding attributed Kelsay’s performance partly to Kelsay’s summer training regimen. In 2012, Kelsay “struggled (with) staying dedicated and getting it done,” Harding said. But this summer was different.
“This summer, we talked to him and talked … (about) how it was so important,” Harding said. “And I think he was just able to do it. He had the discipline.”
One reason Kelsay had found it challenging to train during the summer was his involvement in Boy Scouts, Harding said. Volunteering at Boy Scout camps throughout the summer makes it difficult for Kelsay to get in his mileage because of scheduling issues.
But this summer, Kelsay got in his mileage because of his involvement in Boy Scouts. Through the ScoutStrong campaign, he helped lead a physical fitness campaign that concluded with a 5-kilometer run, he said.
“Garmin, the (sponsoring) corporation, sponsored a lodge, so we worked on sports and fitness with about 300 boys a week, who would come down from across the country,” Kelsay recalled.
Also finishing for South were Alex Slater (12:24), Dominic Dempsey (12:39), Eric Andrews (12:50) and Dalton Smith (13:21).
Kelsay and his South teammates were among a group of area runners that also included Jessie Jaenson and Preston Weigel of Grain Valley, who medaled in the girls race and boys race, respectively. Jaenson, a junior, overcame a rough start – and a different start than usual – to place among the top 25.
“I didn’t really go out like I normally do,” she said. “I kind of stayed back, so that scared me.”
For Weigel, a senior, the meet marked his cross country debut. Having suffered a concussion during the 2012 football season, he opted to switch from football to running this year.
“I’m glad it’s done and over with,” he said. “Now, I’ve got my first cross country race out of the way – and now, I know what to expect.”
Host Lee’s Summit North totaled 41 points to finish second to St. Teresa’s (37) in the girls standings. Other team scores were not available as of press time.
Elizabeth Carpino (13:16) finished fourth and Jesse Dinkins (13:30) took fifth to lead Lee’s Summit North.
On the boys side, Lee’s Summit North placed three in the top five to claim the team title with 43 points. Kyle Dean (11:05) took second and Sam Stockman (11:12) and Brian Green (11:15) were fourth and fifth, respectively, for the Broncos. Other team scores were not available as of press time.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS GREG WILSON CLASSIC: Blue Springs South’s Grace Klausen got her junior season off on the right foot.
Klausen captured the Greg Wilson Classic hosted by St. Thomas Aquinas Saturday at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. Klausen recorded a time of 15 minutes, 27.6 seconds on the 4-kilometer course to lead the Jaguar girls to a sixth-place team finish with 141 points.
The Blue Springs girls finished 12th with 309.
Ashton Henson was 16th in 16:04.2 and Jansynn Radford was 36th in 16:58.0 to help the Jaguars. Maria Wendell finished 33rd in 16:53.50 to pace Blue Springs.
On the boys side, Blue Springs junior Stephen Mugeche finished second behind St. Joseph Central’s Zac Miller to lead the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish with 166 points. Mugeche, an all-state finisher last year, posted a time of 16:03.1 on the 5-kilometer course. Cody Berry was 21st in 17:30.9 and Quentin Bliss was 42nd in 18:06.7 for the Wildcats.
LIBERTY INVITATIONAL: Truman's Cole Rockhold got his senior season off to a strong start by capturing the boys title in the Liberty Invitational Saturday at Stocksdale Park.
Rockhold finished the 2.18-mile course in 11 minutes, 18.62 seconds to help the Patriots finish fourth as a team with 109 points. Also helping Truman were Cedric Gibbs (16th, 12:19.37), David Frazier (22nd, 12:33.4) and Edgar Renteria (26th, 12:47.2).
Truman did not field a complete team in the girls race. Emery Staton led the Patriots with a 23rd-place finish in 15:33.48.