WAMEGO — Sacred Heart senior Luis Mendez had nothing left in the tank.

What he did have was a state medal.

"I gave it all I could," said Mendez, who collapsed into a chair near the finish line, but not before placing 10th in the boys Class 2A race Saturday morning at the state 4A-2A-1A cross country meet. "I can't ask for more.

"I moved up from the top 20 to the top 10, so that's pretty good."

It was the second career medal for Mendez, who finished 18th as a junior last year in 18 minutes, 15.8 seconds. He shaved more than 40 seconds off that time in his final race, posting a 17:34.9.

"It was nice weather," said Mendez, whose race was the first of six on the Wamego Country Club course with a 10 a.m. start. "This is a good course for cross country.

"I'm glad they have state here."

Mendez was one of two Saline County medalists. Ell-Saline sophomore Gavin Grady finished 18th with a time of 18:04.9.

To no one's surprise, the 2A boys winner was Yates Center senior Hadley Splechter, who repeated as champion in 15:57.5. Meade's Ethan Thompson was second with a 16:28.7.

The only other area 2A medalist was Hoxie senior Thaddeus Friess in fourth place at 17:28.2.

 

Eilert leads Blujays

St. John's Beloit sophomore Caleb Eilert fell short of a gold medal, but he couldn't complain.

Not only did Eilert finish second individually in the boys 1A race, but he also led the Blujays to third place as a team with a time of 16:58.3.

"I'm really happy," said Eilert, who improved on his fifth-place freshman finish. "I would have liked to have beaten Collin (Oswalt), but the heat kind of took a toll on me.

"It was pretty hot, and I like colder weather."

The 1A race was the second-to-last of the day with a scheduled 12:20 p.m. start time. By the time all six events were completed, the temperature had climbed to 69 degrees.

Oswalt, a sophomore at Hutchinson's Central Christian, won the race in 16:37.3.

"About a mile in, he took off," Eilert said of Oswalt, who placed third a year ago. "From there I stayed with Trevor Fischer (of Wallace County) and I was able to take the lead from him the last 100 meters."

Fischer, who led Wallace County to the team title, finished third in 16:59.3. The Wildcats won with 42 points, followed by St. John with 43 and St. John's Beloit with 72.

Richard Kaiser was Wallace County's only other medalist in 12th place (18:02.8), while got a 10th-place finish from junior Brandon Bates (17:58.6).

Other area medalists were Osborne's Cameron Delaney in sixth place (17:43.0), Washington County's Tyler Simmons in eighth (17:52.0), Sylvan-Lucas' Jonathan Huehl in ninth (17:55.7) and Quinter's Oura Chester in 17th (18:31.9).

 

Chapman's Modrow 3rd

Aaron Modrow was hoping for a championship in his final race, but he still produced his best state finish.

Modrow was unable to keep pace with Buhler freshman Tanner Lindahl and Winfield's Craig Labrue, but he did summon enough strength on the home stretch to edge Kansas City Piper's Owen Roellchen for third in the boys 4A race.

"I didn't run my race and that's my fault," said Modrow, a Chapman senior, who still improved on last year's fifth-place finish with a time of 17:01.9. "(Lindahl) ran a great race, very tactical and smart.

"I knew I had a chance at the title, but the last 600 yards I had to will my way to third."

Lindahl won in 16:18.8, also leading Buhler to the team championship with 47 points. Labrue was second in 16:55.3.

Now it's on to track season in for Modrow.

"I love track," he said. "My love for track is so much greater than my enjoyment of cross country."