Daily Leader staff report
LAWRENCE — The Liberal High School boys cross country team is the best 5A public school team in the state of Kansas after Saturday’s third place finish at the state cross country meet.
The meet took place at Rim Rock Farms in Lawrence.
Liberal took third with 124 points behind state champion Bishop Carroll (50) and second place St. Thomas Aquinas (70).
“I do not think that there is a more deserving group of young men,” said Liberal head coach Cheri Bevis. “This group of seniors (Alejandro Avila, Alan Grajeda, and Jaime Minjarez), put in hundreds of miles and many hours in preparation for this year. They provided incredible leadership to a group of new runners this season.”
Seniors Jaime Minjarez and Alan Grajeda finished 18th and 19th, respectively, to lead the Redskins to the third place finish.
“The thought that was in my mind most of the time was the idea of finishing,” Minjarez said. “I thought of the season as a race itself. The last race was tiring and intense just like the last few meters of a race. On that tough course everyone wants to give up but I couldn’t because I wanted to finish on a good note.”
Minjarez finished in 17:10, one second ahead of Grajeda.
“I felt really good going into the race,” Grajeda said. “I knew I could beat most of the guys there.”
Angel Viveros placed 22nd individually for Liberal, followed by Fidel Muñoz at 36th, Eric Minjarez in 47th, Alejandro Avila in 72nd and Garrett Allamon in 81st.
Minjarez and Grajeda medaled, and freshman Viveros missed out on a meda by two places.
“We ran extremely well on the very tough Rim Rock Course,” Bevis said. “Our goal coming into this season was to go to State and bring home a trophy.”
Following Liberal in the team standings were fourth place with 138 points and fifth place Mill Valley with 139 points.
“It felt great placing as a team finally, after four years of hard work,” said senior Alejandro Avila. “It was the best feeling I have had in all four of my cross country years..”
Grajeda echoed those semtiments.
“Our team was really ready this year so I had a good feeling that we would do well,” he said. “Finishing third is a great finish to our high school careers.”
Two Lady Redskins competed in the state meet. Destyni Lucero was 39th in 17:11 and McKenzie Wright 43rd in 17:22.
“Destyni and McKenzie both had strong finishes to the season,” Bevis said. “The girls ran in a very strong field and both finished in the top 45.
“Both girls gained valuable state experience and have promising futures ahead of them. These two young ladies will look to lead a more experienced team next year back to state.”
Bevis said a large contingent of Liberal supporters made the trip to Lawrence on Saturday.
“We would like to thank all of our former runners and parents who made the trip to Lawrence to support our team,” she said. “I am very proud of the way all of our redskin runners represented our high school and community with much pride.”
Class 5A State Cross Country Meet
Rim Rock Farm, Lawrence
1. Bishop Carroll 50
2. Saint Thomas Aquinas 70
3. Liberal 124
4. Kapaun Mt. Carmel 138
5. Mill Valley149
6. Newton 151
7. McPherson 192
8. Blue Valley 201
9. Topeka West 206
10. Topeka Seaman 216
11. Kansas City Turner 232
12. Lansing 258
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