Young Lancer Cross Country team finishes season with several personal records

Four freshmen and four sophomores represented the Southeast Lancers at the 2015 Kansas Class 3A Cross Country Regional Championship at Sugar Valley Golf Course outside of Mound City. The five kilometer race begins with a sprint downhill, and then goes uphill and downhill repeatedly, sometimes steadily and other times quickly, sprawling across the golf course. It is considered one of the toughest Cross Country courses in the area and is nothing like the relatively flat land the Lancers are used to training on.

And yet, all but one of the Lancer runners had personal records. The eighth runner, Tanner Craddock, missed his personal best by only nine seconds. At last week’s CNC League Meet at Greenbush, Craddock ran the 5K in 18:24.00. At Saturday’s Regional Meet he ran 18:33.70 – enough for 14th place, but two slots and 3.18 seconds shy of qualifying for the State Meet. Of the 13 runners who placed ahead of the freshman, five were seniors and three were juniors. Only one fellow freshman beat Craddock – and that was by just more than one second.

Southeast Coach Laney Lawson said that while Craddock simply didn’t have the energy at the end to make a final push, he clearly gave it everything he had.

“He is such a competitor – I am very proud of him,” Coach Lawson said. “I am very happy with how we did as a team today.”

By the end of the season, Craddock shaved off more than 90 seconds off of his worst 5K time.

All season long freshman Jet Gall and sophomores Jake Burns and Alex Fleck have had similar times, and have consistently competed with each other for position till the end. The Regional Meet was no different. Gall finished the course in 21:18.57, Fleck finished in 21:32.29, just a step ahead of Burns, who finished in 21:34.41.

Freshman Trenton Hartman finished in 24:12.61; sophomore Daniel Tavernaro finished in 26:36.38; and freshman Blake Sellars finished in 29:06.80.

On the Girls side, sophomore Sarah Clausen ran the 5K in 24:47.77.

On a difficult course, every one of these Lancer runners shaved at least three minutes off of their worst 5K time. Combined, they shaved off more than 31 minutes.

Two freshman girls were unable to finish the Cross Country season for medical reasons – Alex Rice and Daria Stricklin. The team’s lone upperclassman, senior Bailey Moore, was unable to attend the Regional Meet, but at last week’s CNC meet he too had a personal record – 24:08.00 – nearly four minutes faster than his worst time all season.

Coach Lawson is in her first year as the Lancers Cross Country Coach, and she said she has been impressed with the young team – how they train, how they compete, and how they stick together.

On the bus ride home, in between naps and joking around, the runners were already talking about off-season training.

Coach Lawson said that is a good sign for the future.

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