Area runners seek gold in Wamego
Published on -10/26/2012, 10:16 AM
By CONOR NICHOLL
Osborne High School senior Eileen Mick has always worn a big smile and shows excitement when she has a big performance. A four-year cross country runner and all-state track athlete, Mick's career includes setting the school record in the high jump as a sophomore and taking third in the high jump last spring in Class 1A.
In cross country, Mick surprised many, including herself, with a second-place finish at the Class 1A state meet last fall.
She ran 16 minutes, 4 seconds and finished just behind Axtell junior Audrey Schmitz, who posted 15:48. After the race, Mick received congratulations and wore a beaming smile near the finish line at Wamego Country Club.
"It was really great," Mick said. "I didn't expect to get that high, so that just really made my day."
A year later, Mick enters as one of the top favorites. No longer a surprise, Mick believes she can win a state championship this Saturday. The Class 1A girls' race starts at 10:30 a.m. at Wamego Country Club.
Schmitz, now a senior, is back as the defending champion. Mick is uncertain of her race tactics Saturday. Mick said her tactics will be determined on the pace of other runners and the weather conditions.
Last year, Mick was with the pack and worked her way up. That's been a style Mick has normally used in her career. While some top runners run from the front immediately, Mick likes to works her way up.
"Kind of excited," Mick said. "Hoping that I will do well. Just kind of hoping for the best. I am hoping (I can win). You never know."
As well, the Class 2A and 4A races are held at Wamego. Ness City is one of the top teams on both sides in Class 2A, while Victoria won the boys' title at regionals. Victoria senior Jublain Wohler was the individual champion in 18:07 and looks for his all-state appearance.
"If we run well, we would have a chance, but we had to run well," Victoria coach Randy Stanley said.
Last weekend, Mick ran 16:22 to win the Wheatland regional by 47 seconds over the field. Hoxie and Downs-Lakeside finished first and second in team placings. The field included Hoxie senior Marlee McKenna, Wheatland-Grinnell sophomore Taylor Tustin and Palco's Lizzie Benoit, all whom have earned all-state at least once. Mick, McKenna and Tustin were well ahead of the rest of the pack.
"I just kind of went out in front with the two girls," Mick said. "I just kind of followed them and watched what they did. I was just kind of trailing behind them to see how the pace would go."