Saint Thomas Aquinas High School Saint Thomas Aquinas boys run their way to another state championship in cross country

Special to The Star
OCTOBER 28, 2017 8:25 PM

Saint Thomas Aquinas junior Ethan Marshall trailed Great Bend’s Kerby Depenbusch much of the 5-kilometer course on a cold Saturday morning at Rim Rock Farms..
Marshall, however, used another gear in the final seconds to edge Depenbusch and propel the Saints to a fourth consecutive Kansas Class 5A boys state cross country championship.
Marshall finished first among all runners in 15 minutes, 38.1 seconds. Depenbusch was second in 15:41.2.
“Kerby is a really good runner,” Marshall said. “We were neck and neck most of the way. He took the lead at the cemetery and pretty much led all of the skyline until the very end. We just kind of duked it out at the end. I just knew I had to stay close to him to give myself a chance. I gave it all I had.”
Aquinas finished with a team score of 61, which was 11 points ahead of second-place Mill Valley.
The Kansas City area boasted all four team and individual state champions in 5A and 6A across the boys and girls competitions.
Aquinas junior Olivia Sovereign defended her individual 5A title with a time of 18:36.5, which was 13 seconds better than second place.
“I think it helps show how hard I worked the last couple of years,” Sovereign said. “Hard work really does pay off.”
St. James Academy captured the 5A girls team title with a score of 40. Thunder runners Sarah Murrow, Katherine Moore, and Mary O’Connor finished second, third, and fourth, respectively. Senior Mary Goetz also finished 20th, giving St. James four medalists.
Mill Valley was second with 45 points, and Aquinas finished third at 85.
Blue Valley Northwest freshman Riley Beach out-sprinted Manhattan’s Clara Mayfield to win the top individual honors in 6A girls. Beach, who finished in 18:25.7, was running side-by-side with Mayfield until the final 200 meters. Mayfield finished in 18:30.9.
“My thought was that I’d rather not have it close, because that’s really stressful,” Beach said. “So I decided I needed to get out ahead of her. I just imagined I had someone in front of me that I was chasing. I knew the finish was going to be tough. I knew I had to have something left.”