By RICK PETERSON
Shawnee Heights junior cross country standout Kory Sutton hadn't been particularly pleased with his last couple of races, but Sutton was back on top of his game in Saturday's Seaman Invitational at Shawnee North Community Park, leading a 1-2 T-Bird finish in the boys race.
Sutton clocked a five-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 15.31 seconds while his sophomore teammate, Jackson Esquibel finished second 16:22.72.
"Last week I felt like I started off good and didn't quite finish how I wanted to and didn't keep it going,'' Sutton said. "I've had a rough couple of weeks and didn't perform how I wanted, but coming back here definitely helped me build back up my confidence and get back in my groove.
"I was feeling good at the end of the race and I felt like kept it up throughout the whole thing and stayed out of my head. I just ran like I knew I could.''
Sutton said that was important entering the biggest meets of the season.
"It's time for the big meets and it's getting down to the nitty gritty,'' he said.
Sutton and Esquibel have been one of the area's best 1-2 punches and showed that again in Saturday's race.
"It's really fun,'' Sutton said. "We can always work together in workouts and then when we come out here we know we can pace off each other and know where we should be.''
While Shawnee Heights stole the show individually, Washburn Rural was the star of the show as a team, winning the team championship by a 49-63 margin over Seaman and Shawnee Heights.
Senior Alex Holmes paced the Junior Blues with a fourth-place finish in 16:32.74 while the Junior Blues also got a sixth-place finish from sophomore Hayden Keller (17:01.05).
Junior Grayson Fink (17:54.53), junior Easton Dial (17:56.60) and junior Davin Johnson (18:03.93) went 13-14-15 to round out Washburn Rural's top five runners.
Senior Jace Moore finished fifth individually (16:53.42) to lead Seaman to a second-place team finish by virtue of a higher finishing No. 6 runner.
Shawnee Heights also got a ninth-place finish from junior Andrew Emerson (17:37.17) while Topeka West got a 10th-place finish from senior Louis Wilson (17:41.48).
Next up for city runners is Saturday's city meet at the Kanza Park Course. The boys varsity race will start at approximately 9:40 a.m.
SEAMAN INVITATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY
Washburn Rural 49, Seaman 63, Shawnee Heights 63, Lawrence 86, Leavenworth 123, Topeka High 140.
1. Sutton, Shawnee Heights, 16:15.31; 2. Esquibel, Shawnee Heights, 16:22.72; 3. Ryan, Lawrence, 16:25.92; 4. Holmes, Washburn Rural, 16:32.74; 5. Moore, Seaman, 16:53.42; 6. Keller, Washburn Rural, 17:01.05; 7. Purvis, Leavenworth, 17:09.95; 8. Sullivan, Leavenworth, 17:29.23; 9. Emerson, Shawnee Heights, 17:37.17; 10. Wilson, Topeka West, 17:41.48.
Other Washburn Rural -- 13. Fink, 17:54.53; 14. Dial, 17:56.60; 15. Johnson, 18:03.93; 22. Cain, 18:23.11; 24. Olsen, 18:31.75; 29. Ishaan, 18:58.04.
Other Seaman -- 11. Appelhanz, 17:46.30; 12. Stuke, 17:52.57; 19. Swaim, 18:13.07; 20. Jowers, 18:15.04; 21. Newell, 18:15.04; 26. Buckley, 18:48.89; 35. Joseph, 19:47.03; 36. Lady, 19:47.14.
Other Shawnee Heights -- 23. Carter, 18:24.91; 32. Deitcher, 19:15.41; 38. Song, 19:57.16.
Other Topeka West -- 30. Phelps, 18:58.48; 39. Maag, 19:59.71.
Topeka High -- 17. Christopher, 18:06.64; 27. Storrer, 18:49.12; 37. Cowdin, 19:54.24; 40. Campbell, 20:32.99; 42. Solis Carlos, 20:59.20.
Cair Paravel -- 34. Eckert, 19:40.44; 41. Clark, 20:36.82; 47. Bowling, 22:16.56; 49. Keys, 27:14.80.