By RICK PETERSON
Topeka West senior star Lenny Njoroge ran a high school cross country race for the first time since the 2020 season on Saturday, turning in a dominating performance in the Manhattan Invitational at Warner Park.
After earning Class 5A state medals as a freshman and sophomore, Njoroge missed the entire '21 cross country season after suffering a broken leg in a club soccer match before returning to action Saturday and posting a 42-second individual victory.
Njoroge clocked a five-kilometer time of 16 minute, 00.8 seconds, with Wamego junior Harrison Cutting second in 16:42.8.
Seaman senior Zach Jowers finished 12th individually in 17:31.9 while Viking freshman Jack Walker was 22nd in 18:07.0 and senior Landon Stuke 28th in 18:27.8.
Wamego won the boys team title by 36-107 margin over Manhattan.
Seaman finished fourth with 140 points while Topeka High placed 11th as a team (259), led by senior Andrew Storrer, who finished 31st in 18:42.6.
Seaman's girls turned in a strong second-place team finish, with the Vikings just two points behind team champion Lawence (56-58).
Freshman Ryin Miller finished third individually in her high school debut, clocking a five-kilometer time of 20:32.6.
Senior Bethany Druse finished 12th for the Vikings in 21:50.3 while junior Savannah Sampson was 16th in 21:59.4 and sophomore Stella Appelhanz 17th in 22:03.9.
Senior Leah Spurlock rounded out Seaman's top five with a 27th-place finish in 22:43.2.
Runner-up Fink paces Rural in Liberty, Mo. meet
Wahburn Rural sophomore Payton Fink placed second among 121 runners in Saturday's Tim Nixon Invitational in Liberty, Mo.
Fink clocked a five-kilometer time of 19:01.80 to finish second behind Blue Springs, Mo. junior Abigail Brackenbury, who recorded a winning time of 18:57.30.
Rural got a 15th-place finish from sophomore Rylee Ismert 19:56.90 as the Junior Blues finished sixth as a team.
Rural's boys finished eighth as a team, with senior Davin Johnson finishing 22nd in 16:38.10 and senior Grayson Fink finishing 24th in 16:41.80.
T-Bird boys second in Bobcat Invitational
Shawnee Heights' boys cross country team posted a strong second-place finish in Thursday's Bobcat Invitational at Wyandotte County Park, finishing four points behind team champion Spring Hill (56-60).
Junior Jackson Esquibel finished third individually in a five-kilometer time of 16:47.70 while T-Bird senior Kory Sutton placed sixth in 17:21.60 and sophomore Evan Carter was eighth in 18:12.10.
Heights sophomore Isaac Song took 22nd in 19:19.00 while junior Landon Staniec was Heights' No. 5 runner, finishing 26th in 19:38.70.
Shawnee Heights' girls finished fourth as a team, led by Verena Trollman, who placed 16th in 23:32.80.
Rossville girls take team title at Mission Valley
Seniors Amelia Foster and Reagan Wonnell posted top-five individual finishes to lead the way as Rossville earned the team championship in Thursday's season-opening Mission Valley Invitational.
Foster was the individual runner-up in a five-kilometer time of 23:38 while Reagan Wonnell finished fourth in 24:24.
Cassie Fund added a seventh-place finish in 25:01 while Keera Lacock finished 12th in 25:46 and Kinsley Kufahl was 16th in 26:45.
Gerber, Brokaw pace Eagles in Silver Lake Invitational
Tessa Gerber placed sixth in the girls race andd Mason Brokaw finished seventh in the boys race to lead host Silver Lake in Saturday's Silver Lake Invitational.
Gerber, a sophomore, clocked a five-kilometer time of 21:52.43 to pace the Eagle girls while senior Mariah Farmer finished 10th in 22:17.64 and freshman Kylie Podlena was 11th in 22:17.99 as Silver Lake finished fourth as a team.
Brokaw, a senior, was seventh in the boys race in 18:30.38 while junior Eli Ferguson took 10th in 18:48.46, leading the Eagles to a third-place team finish.