As Cardenas goes, so go the Beavers
SCHS runners competing in the Class 3A regional cross-country meet in Cimarron last Saturday were (front to back) Edi Balderrama, Chance Jones and Conner LeBeau.
By Rod Haxton, editor
If you want an idea of how well the SCHS boy’s cross-country team is going to do, don’t focus on the number one runner or even the runner in the number two spot.
Look for Seth Cardenas.
The sophomore had an outstanding day at the Class 3A regional meet on Saturday, finishing third on the team and 14th overall in a time of 20:15. That helped lift the Beavers to their first regional title since 2012 when they were runners-up in the Class 3A state meet.
Scott Community High School (48) won by a surprisingly large margin over runner-up Beloit (71) and Minneapolis (93).
“It seems that the success of our boys hinges on Seth,” says head coach Kevin Reese. “When he runs well the team seems to do well.”
He said that isn’t unusual, pointing out that the No. 3-4-5 positions are often critical in how a team finishes.
“If one of them doesn’t contribute the way you expect them to it can bring your team points up a little bit.”
Cardenas, a sophomore, led a tightly packed group of Scott City runners that also included sophomore Chance Jones (16th, 20:27), freshman Conner LeBeau (17th, 20:33) and senior Edi Balderrama (19th, 20:44).
“I’m running with more confidence,” says Cardenas. “I try to run hard and I probably started out too hard today and that made it a lot tougher for me toward the end of the race. I was trying to see how hard I could push myself, but I may have gone over the limit.”
If he was suffering any in the last half of the race, Cardenas didn’t show it. He was able to maintain his position in the third group of runners who were battling for the 12 to 20 positions.
Lozano is Fifth
Irvin Lozano (5th, 19:11) continued to run with the consistency that has marked the last half of the season, finishing as the lead runner on the SCHS squad.
Wyatt Ratzlaff (Phillipsburg, 18:30) ran away from the rest of the field, but Lozano was in the next group of runners battling for a top five finish.
“I was pretty pleased with my race,” says the junior. “I ran a pace that I was pretty comfortable running. I wanted to push it kind of hard, but still have something left at the end.”
Lozano was a little surprised at his overall finish.
“I didn’t think I’d finish that well. I’ll take fifth place, but I definitely feel that everyone is capable of running even better at state.”
Lozano has emerged as one of the team’s top two runners, sometimes flip-flopping with junior Dylan Hutchins (9th, 19:34).
“My goal was to finish in the top five, but I’m glad to see that Seth, Conner (LeBeau) and Chance (Jones) ran as well as they did,” says Hutchins. “I’m okay with ninth place this weekend, but I need to run a better race at state.
“Irvin stepped up his race and our younger guys are really coming along. Now we need to put everything together at the state meet.”
Rounding out the top individual finishers for Scott City were Jones (16th, 20:27), LeBeau (17th, 20:33) and Balderrama (19th, 20:44).
Return to Rim Rock
The Beavers are anxious for the return trip to Rim Rock near Lawrence where they were the Class 3A state runner-up in 2012.
Hutchins isn’t surprised by his team’s success and is optimistic about their chances in the state meet on Friday.
“I expected this team to be pretty good,” says the junior who also ran on the state runner-up team. “Our younger kids keep getting better every week and Edi and Miguel (Chavez) have better races in them. Hopefully we can put it all together at state.”
“It helps that we have several boys who have seen this course before,” says Reese. “Those who have been on the course before can relate their experience and knowledge to those who haven’t run on it.
“We’ve competed well on this course in the past. That shows the training we do prepares us well for this type of course.”
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