Lee’s Summit North High School junior Danielle Rock had only one move to make at the Lee’s Summit North Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at the Lake Jacomo cross country course.
“I knew that I had to take the lead from the start and keep it, and that’s what I did. Right from the gun, there was one girl that sprinted off. I had to pass her a half-mile in, and I kept the lead the whole time. I’ve never done that before,” Rock said.
It worked. Rock placed first on the 2.1-mile course in 13 minutes, 50.41 seconds, some 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Rock was told to grab the lead at the outset, and she did precisely that.
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“I didn’t look back, because I knew the coaches would be mad at me. I knew they’d all tell me if someone was close, but it was really nerve-wracking because I had no clue,” Rock said.
Rock had no problem taking the new strategy to heart.
“She’s just one of those girls that, if you tell her to do something, she’s going to do it. She goes out every practice and does exactly what we want,” Lee’s Summit North coach Ryan Shortino said. “And she’s a junior, so she has a lot more left. It’s going to be exciting to watch.”
Lee’s Summit North took the girls team title by dominating the top 10 spots. The Broncos had four of the top five, and six of the top 10. Lee’s Summit had the other four top-10 finishers.
“We wanted to do that, but we didn’t know it would be that good,” Rock said.
The Broncos have plenty of new faces on this year’s varsity. It’s still very early in the season, but Saturday’s race was a promising sign.
“Anything you do early on to have a little success is great. It’s the second race of the year. We have a little bit more to accomplish, but I think we’re in a good spot right now,” Shortino said. “We’re young, and we’ve got to be a pack team this year. We’ve got to get our one-to-five as close together as possible, and I think they did pretty well today.”
Titans’ sophomore wins
Lee’s Summit West sophomore David Treece didn’t stand out on the first lap of Saturday’s cross country race.
Mired in the middle of the pack, Treece knew when it was time to go.
“At least half of them were in front of me at the end of the first lap. That’s how we’ve been coached to run it.”
Treece chased down everybody with the exception of Warrensburg senior Trent Classen, finishing in second place in a time of 11:43.69, five seconds behind Classen.
(Classen) was ahead the whole time. I ran the first lap kind of conservatively, then I had to start picking people off. I just couldn’t get him,” Treese said.
The Titans finished first at the nine-team boys meet, nine points ahead of second-place Blue Springs South.
“It’s always nice to win this meet. We’ve got goals, and I told the guys we have a chance to win this meet. If we want to go where we want to go, we need to beat everybody here,” Lee’s Summit West coach Michael Shortino said. “It was a good first meet.”
A family affair
There were no shortages of Shortinos at Saturday’s meet. Ryan is the girl’s head coach at Lee’s Summit North. Matthew is a assistant coach for the Lee’s Summit North boys, and Michael is the head girls coach at Lee’s Summit West.
“Every time we race against each other its always for bragging rights. With the districts and everything changing, we’re not going to see each other as much, but conference will be the big one for us,” Michael said.
Matthew, the self-proclaimed “younger and better looking” brother celebrated a birthday on Saturday. His two brothers had something to celebrate as well.
“I guess Michael got a title. I got one,” Ryan said. “That’s not bad.”