LAWRENCE, Kan. – After losing its 18-second lead built on the first two legs of the 4 x mile, Lee’s Summit West’s anchor Kourtney West turned a 200-meter kick into a Kansas Relays victory to give the Titans the event title for the fifth consecutive year.
Kennadee Williams and Elizabeth Nolke staked the Titans to an early lead, with St. Thomas Aquinas giving chase. The Saints pulled even on the final exchange after Jennifer Angles closed the gap on the third leg.
“I was kind of hoping (to be behind) because I really wanted to chase somebody the whole race because I knew that would make me run faster,” Angles said. “When I saw her that much ahead, I knew I could close it.”
West and Aquinas anchor Rachel Mahon shadowed each other for three laps until West turned on her kick in the final 200 to pull away and hand the Titans the title in 22:03.
“I just tried to stay with her and use whatever energy I had left at the end,” West said. “It just felt like a normal race. I was trying my best to stay in there and not push it too hard so I died at the end. Once I got to the 200, I knew I had stuff left so I used it.
“I definitely felt (Mahon’s) push, and I know that helped me a lot and improved my time.”
Aquinas captured second in 22:10.
Nerinx Hall came from back in the pack to take third in 22:40 after Sophia Racette turned in a final leg of 5:26. Racette moved through the field and finally got by Francis Howell’s Arnica Zitting on the fourth lap.
“I saw our third leg (Maddie Hetlage) catching people, and I knew I wanted to catch people, and the first lap I just felt great,” Racette said. “I kept picking off people and all of a sudden I was like, ‘We’re in fourth! We can do this!’ and I knew the top three would get awards. I was just pumped at that point, and I knew we had a chance so I was going for it.
“I didn’t even care what my split was. I just wanted to get the third place, and we did.”