By RICK PETERSON
Veteran Seaman girls cross country coach Rick Brading didn't enter the 2021 season with a pack mentality in mind for his team, but it seems to be working that way, and paying early dividends for the Vikings.
Junior Bethany Druse, a returning Class 5A state placer, led the pack with a second-place individual finish on Saturday at the Kanza Park course and her teammates followed close behind, with Seaman putting all its top five in the first 12 places en route to winning the team championship in Topeka West's Joe Schrag Invitational by a 30-41 margin over Blue Valley.
Druse clocked a five-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 45.51 seconds to finish as the runnerup to Blue Valley senior Tori Wingrove (18:33.32) while Seaman freshman Anna Becker finished fourth (20:23.48), senior Emma Schultz sixth (20:40.20), freshman Joslynn Grace seventh (20:42.11) and freshman Stella Appelhanz 12th (21:22.19).
"We're not trying to be a pack, it just happens that way,'' Brading said. "We just have some talented kids.''
Seaman had opened the season with a close third-place finish in the Manhattan Invitational, just four points out of five, and Brading said it was good for the Vikings to get a win under their belts.
"It is a huge positive and these were very good teams,'' Brading said.
Senior Anna Phelps posted a top-10 finish for Topeka West, taking 10th in 21:05.05.
Sophomore Katherine Keys was the lone competitor for Cair Paravel Latin, posting a 27th-place finish (23:17.62) while freshman Sammira Espinoza Nunez led Topeka High with a 43rd-place finish (26:01.72).
JOE SCHRAG INVITATIONAL
Seaman 30, Blue Valley 41, Lee's Summit West (Mo.) 57, Lansing 114, Leavenworth 129.
1. Tori Wingrove, Blue Valley, 18:33.32; 2. Bethany Druse, Seaman, 19:45.51; 3. Ellie Graham, Blue Valley, 20:12.00; 4. Anna Becker, Seaman, 20:23.48; 5. Ella Cronhardt, Lee's Summit West, 20:29.65; 6. Emma Schultz, Seaman, 20:40.20; 7. Joslynn Grace, Seaman, 20:42.11; 8. Madison Cross, Lee's Summit West, 20:59.97; 9. Eleanor Warren, Blue Valley, 21:02.09; 10. Anna Phelps, Topeka West, 21:05.05.
Other Seaman -- 12. Stella Appelhanz, 21:22.19; 17. Savannah Sampson, 22:04.06; 18. Gabby Grace, 22:09.09; 28. Brooke Polter, 23:19.99.
Other Topeka West -- 31. Lauren Province, 23:35.96.
Cair Paravel Latin -- 27. Katherine Keys, 23:17.62.
Topeka High -- 43. Sammira Nunez Espinosa, 26:01.72; 45. Marilena Zuniga, 26:18.86; 46. Erika Cabral, 26:45.38; 48. Emma Ludlum, 27:13.39.