Stanton Co. XC Teams Tops at Lakin Invite
by Kevin ThompsonEarly in the race, Scott City's Jack Thomas, Stanton County's Caleb Carrassco and Ulysses' Alex Barbosa (Center) run in a pack behind the leader at the Lakin cross country meet Saturday.
LAKIN — In one of the final tune-ups for the post-season cross country campaign, area runners found the Lakin Municipal Golf Course the place to be on Saturday.
Stanton County won both boys and girls individual titles, and the Hugoton boys and Scott City girls won the team championships.
The Lady Trojans’ senior Rebeca Avelar led the girls race from start to finish to win in 20:20.20, ahead of Scott City’s Makaela Stevens (20:43).
Hugoton’s Abby Heger finished third (20:48) and Katy Heger fourth (21:11).
Caleb Carrasco kicked past friendly rival Ethan Thompson of Meade in the final 200 yards to win by four seconds (16:55 to 16:59).
Jack Thomas of Scott City finished third (17:02) just ahead of Ulysses’ Alex Barbosa (17:06), who finished ahead of a trio of Hugoton Eagles.
Carrasco, who ran in a pack of the top four runners for most of the 3.1-mile course, rode Thompson’s shoulder through the final mile, catching the Meade runner on the final turn to surge past Thompson to the finish line.
Hugoton’s 5-6-7 finish propelled the Eagles boys to 53 points for the team title, with Stanton County second at 61 and Scott City third with 78.
Carrasco was actually sitting third in the final mile behind Thompson and Barbosa, but he said it was an easy strategy for him to commit to.
“I could either let them go and settle for third or I can just hang in,” he said. “I just shot right by Alex and hung on to Ethan.”
From there, he said all he could think about was staying with Thompson until they got to the finish, and he would have a chance.
“The closer I am, the better off I am,” Carrasco said, and when Thompson took a couple steps off the course at a lightly marked turn, the Stanton County senior gained an extra three steps.
“Then when we got to the last straight, I just started gunning it,” he said. “The wind’s blowing against us. He (Thompson) starts fighting me. In my head I’m thinking I’ve invested way too much energy not to get first.”
Avalar used a different strategy to win the girls title, jumping out from the pack at the starting line and leading the entire race.
“I felt pretty strong, although it was fairly windy,” she said. “I think my first two miles were much faster than my last.”
Her time, despite the wind, was six seconds faster than the same race a year ago. Without the wind, she said she would have been even faster, but that’s what she is counting on for Thursday when her team and others return to the same course for the Hi-Plains League meet.
Stanton County coach Mike Horton was pleased with both his individual winners and teams’ efforts.
He had his teams training hard leading up to the Lakin meet, but now they get to taper off with league Thursday, the regional meet in Meade on Oct. 22 and state at Wamego on Oct. 29.
“I think we made a strong statement,” Horton said. “We’re coming on, and I saw a lot of great things today.”
The Scott City girls got a second from Stevens, a seventh place from Dulce Ayala and 14th place from Trella Davis, leading the Lady Beavers to a team-low 58 points, just two points ahead of Hugoton. Stanton County was third with 92 points.