Cross country has successful conference meet

Senior Aydan VanMeerhaeghe leads the pack during the boys JV race at the UKC meet at Wyandotte County Park on Oct. 11.

Doug Pickert

Senior Aydan VanMeerhaeghe leads the pack during the boys’ JV race at the UKC meet at Wyandotte County Park on Oct. 11.

Lizzy Arnold, Editor-in-Chief

The De Soto High School cross country team competed in the United Kansas Conference meet for the first time on Oct. 11 at Wyandotte County Park.

Senior cross country captain Sam Hubert won the varsity boys’ individual championship, finishing the 5,000-meter course with a time of 16:27.

Not only did Hubert finish first, his teammates also performed well, contributing to the varsity boys’ second overall placement. Individually, sophomore Carson Sturdy placed fifth, senior Graham Hudelson finished eighth, junior Chase Culver finished 12th and freshman Brady Huggins placed 14th. In addition to top finishes, these top-five runners also earned All-Conference honors.

Girls’ varsity placed fourth in the conference with top finisher freshman Katelyn Gress coming in eighth at 21:31. Following Gress was senior Rylie McDaniel in 14th, junior Lane Hileman in 17th and Junior Erin Pickert in 21st.

In the boys’ junior varsity race, senior Aydan VanMeerhaeghe led the pack, placing first overall with a time of 18:13. Not too far behind VanMeerhaeghe was freshman Vinnie Capling in second, junior Jack Loomis in third, sophomore Connor Gibson in fourth and freshman Owen Gier in sixth. Those top finishes totaled to a score of 16 points, landing the boys’ JV team in first overall.

“Winning conference was definitely a new experience for me it was really cool to be chasing the gator this time instead of someone else,” VanMeerhaeghe said. “I’m really proud of all my teammates; JV got one point off of a perfect score and I’m really excited about the future of De Soto Cross Country.”

Head coach Jack Sachse believed that despite the muddy course, the team’s energy at the meet was very high.

“I think our team was very excited to run in it [the meet] because it was a championship type meet. I think maybe there was more excitement then normal,” Sachse said.

The cross country team will compete in the Regional meet on Oct. 20 at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth and look toward the State meet on Oct. 27.

“The boys as a team are trying to qualify for State and are in a very good position to do that. The girls also have a chance and if not as a team there are definitely a couple girls who can qualify as individuals,” Sachse said.