Most other weeks Blue Valley’s Joseph Gorthy and Blue Valley West’s Stuart McNutt are rivals.
Even as recently as last week the two raced against each other and McNutt won the Eastern Kansas League title, but Blue Valley’s move to Kansas Class 6A meant the two were allies again at their regional meets on Saturday at Shawnee Mission Park.
Gorthy won the 6A Blue Valley regional and walked back past the starting line to cheer on his buddy. McNutt ended up winning his race as well to take the Class 5A Mill Valley regional title which means the two will both be going to the state meets on Friday which will be held at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence.
“He makes me a better runner because running with faster people makes you go faster,” Gorthy said. “We’re pretty good friends so running with him is fun.”
Gorthy, whose winning time was 16 minutes, 11.30 seconds, also helped the Tigers capture the team title. Joey Wiederholt added a third-place finish and Jacob Mikuls was seventh.
“Our team did really well and individually I did pretty well,” Gorthy said. “Our goal from the beginning of the season has been to win state and we are on our way to that.”
The other two teams to qualify from the Blue Valley regional were Olathe North and Blue Valley North. Lawrence Free State, Shawnee Mission East and Shawnee Mission North qualified from the Shawnee Mission Northwest regional where Free State’s Ryan Liston took the individual title.
Liston’s title was the second for the Firebirds, who also qualified on the girls’ side with a winning run from Emily Venters who won the title last year as a freshman. Shawnee Mission West and Shawnee Mission Northwest will join them at state.
Olathe East’s Kayla Davis won the Blue Valley regional and helped the Hawks capture the team title. Olathe North and Blue Valley also qualified and will compete alongside their boys teams at state.
Aquinas sweeps Class 5A regional
For the ninth consecutive season, St. Thomas Aquinas will send both its boys and girls cross country teams to the state tournament as regional champions.
Blue Valley West took the top two spots on the boys side with McNutt and Connor Bost, but the Saints placed four runners in the top 10 to edge the Jaguars for the team title. Aquinas’ Daniel Petracek led the pack with a fifth-place finish.
Margaret Pigott and Emily Downey paced the Aquinas girls with second- and third-place finishes behind Judith Jones of St. James Academy. All five of the Saints’ runners finished in the top 10 to help edge the Thunder for the team title.
“We treat cross country as one family rather than as two programs,” Saints coach Justin Wrigley said. “It would not feel right and we are extremely fortunate that for nine straight years they have both won the regional. It’s more fun when you’ve got both groups.”
The third qualifier from the Mill Valley regional was Blue Valley West.
To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.