By BRETT MARSHALL
Despite getting a 1-2-6 finish from seniors Alex Miller, Kayla Doll and Chelsea Jackson on Saturday, the Garden City Lady Buffaloes cross country team came up short in the team race, finishing a distant second to defending Class 5A champion Overland Park-St. Thomas Aquinas at the El Dorado Invitational.
Miller won the 4-kilometer race with a speedy time of 14:44.91 while Doll was next in 14:53.91.
That was just ahead of third-place Kelsi Andrews of Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (14:54.62). But St. Thomas Aquinas then took the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth and 10th place finishes to end up with 34 points to the Lady Buffs' 71 points. Wichita Bishop Carroll was third with 79 points.
"We did have a pretty good day," said GCHS coach Krista Linenberger. "From watching them, I think they continue to get stronger with each run."
Jackson's time of 15:04.72 broke up the group of St. Thomas Aquinas runners, but it was another 15 spots back before Katy Doll's 15:36.56 was a 21st place finisher. Hannah Schultz accounted for the final score for the Lady Buffs, finishing in 41st place with a time of 16:34.65. Maria Rodriguez (50th, 16:46.56) and Cecilia Alvarez (74th, 17:38.09) were the non-counting times for the Buffs.
"It's just like last year in that I think our No. 5 runner will be the key to how we do (at state)," Linenberger said. "Katy ran way better at the meet than she did last year and I thought Hannah ran well, too. I think with Katy, she's the one that kinda comes out at the right time — she's a gamer and she'll be fine. Hannah continues to improve as well."
On the boys side, freshmen Marcus Tula and Erik Chaparro once again paced the Buffs' runners.
The boys placed seventh among the 10 teams competing with 218 points while Wichita North won the team title with 51 points.
Tula just missed a top 10 finish, placing 11th with a time of 16:28.62 for the 5-kilometer race. Chaparro was 21st with a time of 16:42.06. Following the two freshmen were Ray Urbina (44th, 17:19.06), Jesus Reyes (63rd, 17:42.34), Juan Gomez (90th, 18:13.50) and Josh Kreger (109th, 19:03.78).
Next up for the Buffs' runners will be the Western Athletic Conference championship on Thursday in Great Bend.