In this file photo, the Junction City boys cross country runners take off from the starting line at the Manhattan Invitational on Sept. 4 at Warner Park. The Blue Jay boys were one of five JCHS teams to win a team championship at the Bob Schmoekel Invite at Milford State Park on Saturday.

For nearly 40 years, Coach Bob Schmoekel headed up the cross country and track programs at JCHS. It is fitting that the home course and the home invitational for JCHS are named after him.

The 2021 edition of the Bob Schmoekel Invite was a great day for the Blue Jay runners. The team amassed a total of 20 personal records (PR), won three individual championships, and won five of the six team championships on Saturday at Milford State Park.

“We are happy with where the team is right now,” head coach Tim Testa said. “Today was a great day, but there is plenty of work left to do. We know there are two weeks left until we are back on our course to host the Centennial League Championships. There is still time to make big improvements.”

The first race of the day was the girls varsity race.

The JCHS girls won the team championship by placing four girls in the top 10 and six girls in the top 25 spots of the race.

Sophomore Brynna York won the individual championship in a time of 20:09.9 for the 5k.

Sophomores Lorna Rae Pierce, Reagan McGuire, and Katey Atkins all placed in the top 10 with places of second, fourth, and ninth respectively. Rounding out the varsity girls results were freshman Kourtney Dibben and senior Murin Burkett. Both runners ran PRs and broke the 23:00 barrier for the first times in their lives.

“Our girls really started off the energy for the day,” assistant coach Ryan Norton said. “It was a great start to the meet and I think that they acted like a springboard for the rest of the performances of the day. We are excited to see what they can accomplish in the near future.”

The boys varsity race was next.

Senior Tyler Atkins won his second individual championship of the season by posting a time of 16:21.20 for 5k. Atkins won the meet by over 30 seconds.

The Blue Jays put all six of their competitors in the top 20 individuals. Junior Isaiah Smith finished the race in 4th. Junior Alex Curto and sophomore Ty Raulston were eighth and tenth respectively. Junior Neil Crowley posted a new PR for 5k races and placed 12th overall.

His time of 18:52.1 was his first time breaking 19:00.

Hayden Diestelkamp rounded out the Blue Jay performances with a 19th place finish to snag one of the last medals given to the top 20 finishers.

“It was good to see some confidence and high placings out of the boys team,” assistant coach Mandy Zimmerman said. “They have high goals for themselves this year and they know they still have to improve if they want to accomplish them. We know they will be ready when the time is right.”

The team titles just kept coming in the JV Girls and Boys races.

The girls put five runners in the top seven of the race and easily won the team championship. Not to be outdone, the boys placed eight runners in the top 11 of the field.

Along with dominating team performances, the JV athletes ran four PRs in their races.

Girls JV Results

Amyah O’Neal 2nd place – 23:49.50

Mariah Jeter 4th place – 24:18.30

Elaina Schmidt 5th place – 24:34.50

Alala Myers 6th place – 25:03.20

Ruth Easterling 7th place – 25:44.6

JV Boys Results

Billy Dee 1st place – 17:45.00

Javohn Jackson 3rd place – 19:40.1

Johnny Rushing 4th place – 19:48.5

Evan Hall 5th place – 19:54.9

Carl Baskerville 6th place – 20:06.8

Andre Cervantes 7th place – 20:10.8

Michael Bockman 10th place – 20:25.7

Timothy Sifuentes 11th place – 22:55.6

In the final race of the day, the Blue Jay C Team athletes took the course and completely dominated the small field.

With athletes from only three different schools, the Blue Jays took home 70% of the medals that were available.

Those placings included individual championships from Freshman Terrence Burnell for the boys and Mikynzie Tatro in the girls race. The C Team boys socred a perfect 15 by placing 1-2-3-4-5 in the race.

C Team Boys Placings

Terrence Burnell 1st

Dallas Tatar 2nd

Joey Hill 3rd

Frankie Fuentes 4th

Samuel Johnston 5th

Jerry Murray 6th

Quentin Baskerville 7th

Gavin Moore 8th

David Rosauer 9th

Aiden Harris 11th

William Easterling 20th

C Team Girls Placings

Mikynzie Tatro 1st

Sylvia Arriaga 8th

The Blue Jays are back in action Saturday Oct. 9th in Salina for the Salina Invitational which will act as the last regular season competition before JCHS hosts the 2021 Centennial League Championships and the KSHSAA 6A Regionals at Bob Schmoekel Cross Country Course Oct 16th and 23rd.

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