LAWRENCE, Kan. – Blue Springs displayed its depth once again with a complete performance in the KU Relays distance medley relay.
Alex Johnson opened up a nearly two-second lead with his second leg 400 meters. And while Fox fought back to close the gap, Simon Belete proved too strong on the anchor leg and pulled away on the last lap to give the Wildcats the victory in 10:40.44.
“With one lap to go, it was just like, ‘You’ve got to give it all or else you’re going to be stuck with second place,’” Belete said. “I didn’t want to let these guys down because they ran great legs, and I was really happy for us to come away with the victory this time.
“It was nerve wracking because last year I got the stick in first and we ended up in third. I didn’t want a repeat of last year. I was really focused on making sure I finished strong because that was the biggest weakness I had last year.”
Johnson was even with Fox when he took the baton from Stephen Mugeche, but he wasted little time in creating separation.
“I was just getting out because I knew we had a chance to win this relay,” Johnson said. “I never get to run on a relay with these good distance guys that we have, so it was a lot of fun.”
Lee’s Summit West’s girls followed their early-morning 4 x mile victory with a 12:23.78 victory in the DMR. The race was a tight two-way battle with Eureka until Elizabeth Nolke got the stick on the third lap.
Nolke dropped a 2:21 in the third-leg 800 meters and turned a small deficit into a lead for anchor Kourtney West, who continued to open the spread and flirted with the meet record of 12:23.32.
“I decided I was going to try to go catch her and get a good gap for the team,” Nolke said. “We were really excited when we saw that we were so close to the record, and it’s definitely a goal that we can look forward to next year.”