By BRETT MARSHALL
LAWRENCE — No matter how cold it was on Saturday morning for the Class 3A boys state cross country meet at Rim Rock Farm, Scott City's Joey Meyer was not going to be deterred in his pursuit of a high individual finish and a possible team trophy.
The senior got his wish on all three counts — temperature in the mid-30s at race time, a fifth place individual medal by running his personal best time (16:39.4) in the 5-kilometer race, and leading his team to a second-place finish with 110 points.
"This feels great," said Meyer, who has been an integral part of the last two Scott City boys basketball state championships in Class 3A. "I've gotten close to this team over the last few weeks and I wanted to do something for them. They've never really touched one (trophy) before so I wanted them to have that experience."
It also helped to have the bone-chilling temperature which didn't seem to bother Meyer in the least, especially considering the wind was negligible at less than 5 mph.
"I run better on colder days," Meyer said. "When it's hot, it just takes it out of me, it drains me. But on cold days, I just find myself able to run harder."
Meyer finished behind winner Cory Donley of Salina-Sacred Heart (16:03.5), Alex Conn of Beloit (16:15.8), Johnny Adamson of Pittsburg-St. Marys Colgan (16:32.1) and Cordell Goering (16:36.9) of team champion Hutchinson Trinity (with 75 points).
"I was trying to get the Trinity kid," Meyer said of Goering. "I just kept catching people on the straightaway. It's my best time ever and to be at Rim Rock, that's pretty special."
The difficult and complex course designed by former Kansas University track and cross country coach Bob Timmons is regarded as one of the most challenging tests in the United States.
"I went out with my usual first mile, about 5:15," Meyer said. "The second mile, I just tried to stay strong because that's where I died earlier this year (at the Rim Rock Invitational in September). I just kept gaining on certain people and that last mile I just kept going as hard as I could, kept my stride, and sprinted at the end."
Meyer was the lone Beavers runner to finish in the top 20 and medal. Fellow senior Luke Minnix was 24th, while a bevy of underclassmen — from freshmen Irvin Lozano, Dylan Hutchins and Heath Briggs to sophomores Edi Balderrama and Miguel Chavez — placed anywhere from 41st to 92nd.
"They're going to be really good and I just wanted them to be able to experience what it feels like to win something," Meyer said. "They've worked so hard."
Holcomb's boys finished just out of the trophy chase by placing fourth with 133 points, 10 points behind third-place Norton's 123. None of the Longhorns placed in the top 20, and for the first time in many years, the team came home without any hardware. Tayler Chelemedos was the top HHS finisher, placing 21st with a time of 17:44.2.
"I really think the guys ran well, I thought we snuck in for a trophy," Holcomb coach Lindall Cox said. "Those are quality teams and they just outran us today. The effort was there, they ran determined. They did what they needed to do. Came here on a mission and a 10 points short. Fourth isn't bad, it's not what we're used to. They moved well through the course and ran pretty well, just not good enough to bring home a trophy."
Cimarron freshman Isabelle Koopman earned a top 20 medal by placing 11th with a time of 16:19.7. she was the lone Lady Bluejay to come home with hardware as teammate Kari Blattner just finished out of the medal chase with a 21st place finish in 16:52.5. The Bluejays finished 10th in the 12-team competition.
"I tried to keep up with the best and it kind of worked," said Koopman, whose older sister Eva is one of the top high jumpers and long jumpers in Class 3A. "The hills are a little tough and it helped to have some of the downhills. The uphills were really hard."
Her first state experience left the Cimarron runner looking ahead to the next season.
"Absolutely, this is a great way for my first year to finish," Koopman said. "I wasn't expecting them to be sprinting at the start, the middle of the race was tough and then when I was getting closer to the finish line, I just thought, 'I'll be there soon.'"
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.