On a day Kansas City dominated the state cross country meet, Lee’s Summit West was among the most dominant Class 4 girls teams.
The Titans just didn’t dominate as much as they hoped or expected.
West finished third, joining a top-four sweep by metro area girls teams in the Class 4 race Saturday, Nov. 4, on the hilly course at Oak Hills Golf Center.
Going in, the Titans hoped to challenge favorite Raymore-Peculiar after coming within four points of beating the Panthers at the sectional meet the week before.
Instead, Park Hill South edged Ray-Pec 92-114 for the title and the Titans settled for third with 135 points, three better than fourth-place Blue Springs South.
“I’m pleased that we’re on the podium,” West girls coach Jesse Griffin said. “It was a very good performance for us but not as good” as the Titans wanted.
The problem, Griffin said, was that the Titans started too fast, trying to match blistering pace set by Blue Springs South’s Tori Findley. The quick start split up the Titans early in the race and the large field made it more difficult to stay together.
“We didn’t pack together as much as we should have,” West sophomore Madison Hulsey said. “When we went out really fast, we got spread out to the point where we couldn’t find each other back up again.”
Griffin added, “On the first 600 (meters) we just needed to be a little bit more conservative. The mile split was good; I was pleased with where we were.”
Findley led from the start and covered the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 9.34 seconds, part of a one-two finish with teammate Danielle Hotalling.
Hulsey was first Titan across the line in 19:31.53, which was good enough 19th overall and all-state honors.
“She’s been working hard and ran a smart race,” Griffin said. “I’m happy for her.”
Hulsey’s finish was good for 11 team points. Addie Mathis was West’s next finisher, scoring 16 points with a 27th-place showing. Hailey Hardin (46th place), McKenna Butler (52nd), and Hannah Brown (67th) rounded out the Titans’ scorers.
“We were very proud we made the podium, but we were expecting to do better,” Hulsey said. “We’re just happy we all finished together and we all finished strong.”
Madelyn Robinson of Lee’s Summit North also earned all-state honors by placing in the top 25. Robinson, a junior, finished right behind Hulsey in 20th.
Ben Burnett of Lee’s Summit West placed 11th to reach the podium in the Class 4 boys race. Burnett, a senior, finished in 16:07.66.
The Titans finished seventh in the Class 4 team standings.
St. Michael the Archangel senior Caroline Meyers placed fifth in the Class 2 girls race with a time of 19:56.54. Meyers led St. Michael to a seventh-place finish.