LINDSBORG — “Why not us?”
That’s what the Smoky Valley boys have to be asking themselves as they prepare this week for the Class 4A State Cross Country Championships on Saturday at hilly Wamego Country Club.
The Vikings were fourth in the state last year. The three teams that finished in front of them — champion Baldwin, runner-up DeSoto and third-place Hugoton — didn’t make the field of 12 this year.
And four of the six runners who finished ahead of Smoky Valley’s Calvin Shannon last year graduated. So the Viking junior has to be considered one of the favorites as he no doubt will improve on his seventh-place finish of 2015.
Shannon won last week’s regional at Hays by nearly a minute. He also had the best time of any of the regional winners, but that’s somewhat incidental since all the courses that are run have different landscapes.
But Viking coach Holly Lindquist is hoping Shannon and the Vikings make a run at the top.
“We are definitely wanting a plaque,” Lindquist said. “It is a tough course with lots of hills.”
For the Vikings to win a team title, not only will they need Shannon to be a Top 3 finisher, but they need for Logan Windholz and Josh Peterson to finish high. Windholz medaled last week by taking 10th, while Peterson was a spot behind.
Other runners for the Vikings are Zach Lott, Austin Lustfield, Isaac Peterson and Carter Couchman.
Other regional team winners were Girard, Maize South and Wamego, which has to be considered the favorite since it’s running on its home course.
Remaining teams include Fort Scott, Iola, Circle, Andover Central, Ulysses, Pratt, Tonganoxie and Spring Hill.
The 4A boys meet starts at 12:20 p.m.