Mehalovich leads MVHS boys to bes showing ever at state
Coming into the Class 5A state championships, the Mill Valley boys cross country team knew it had an outside chance of getting on the podium with a top-three finish as a team. That didn’t quite happen Saturday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, but the Jaguars are hardly complaining after recording the best finish at state in school history.
“I told the kids, ‘We’re gonna need a perfect storm to have a bunch of things (happen).’ We did most of them, but didn’t quite get there,“ MVHS coach Mark Chipman said.
The Jaguars placed fifth as a team with 149 points, and junior Connor Mehalovich nabbed a state medal by finishing 15th in 17 minutes, 8 seconds, in the five-kilometer race. The time was his personal best, an even more impressive feat considering it came on arguably the toughest course in Kansas.
Wichita Bishop Carroll won the team title with 50 points, St. Thomas Aquinas was second with 70, and Liberal placed third with 124.
In addition to Mehalovich, many other Jaguars also made solid showings at Rim Rock. Freshman Landon Scott had a good showing in his first state competition while finishing 30th in 17:28.
The Jaguars’ third runner of the day was sophomore Bret Schmit. His time of 17:31 was good for a 34th-place finish, giving the Jaguars three runners inside the top 35. Fellow sophomore Chris Gillespie finished eight seconds back in 42nd.
Also for MVHS, sophomore Andrew Eigsti placed 56th in 18:03, senior Jacob Rohrer was 64th in 18:12, and freshman Bobby Hellon placed 82nd in 18:50.
While Rohrer has been a mainstay in the Jaguars’ varsity lineup throughout his career, he is the only senior on the state team. In fact, Mill Valley will return nine of its top 10 boys runners next year, giving them early optimism about an even stronger showing at state in 2011.
“We should be pretty tough next year,” Chipman said. “Our top five at this meet were all underclassmen. They got a little taste of it this year. I think they might want on that medal stand next year.”
Only one MVHS girl qualified for state. Junior Kelsey Wakefield made her second straight appearance at state, and she placed 56th in the four-kilometer race in 17:47.
Wichita Bishop Carroll won the girls’ team championship, St. Thomas Aquinas was second, and Great Bend placed third.