WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The boys and girls cross country season is underway. Three Wichita high school teams were among the 41 that competed in last Saturday night’s annual Olathe Twilight 5K Invitational.
The smallest of those three Wichita schools stole the spotlight.
Trinity Academy’s Clay Shively set a new state mark and established a new national record!
Shively says he had a really good feeling before the start of the boys’ 5K.
“I felt good. We spent a lot of time – me and Sam and Jacob Hobson and Caleb Toplin. Like, we all have trained really hard this summer. And we’ve all been able to push each other, and I’ve spent a lot of time training at around like a 14:40 pace,” said Shively. “So, leading up to the race, I just kind of had to trust my training and go into it with a peace and calm mindset and just see what I could do.”
Trinity Academy’s head coach was confident Shively was primed to do something special.
“Absolutely. Clay has been running great for the last year and a half, and he ran under 14:50 there last year. So, we expected it definitely. He was definitely going to be going after the state record,” said Knights Head Coach Eric Carroll.
Shively crossed the finish line in 14:42.60. Not only was that time his personal best, but also it was the fastest boys 5K in Kansas high school history.
“It’s a cool feeling to know that I’ve just gotten to work my way up over the last year to just kind of see my name a little bit higher on some of those lists every year. Just good to know that I’m progressing and growing. And so, to run this fast is a really good feeling, for sure,” said the senior who is committed to run track at the University of Northern Arizona.
Shively’s time is also the fastest in the nation, early in the cross-country season.
“Yeah, I mean, I was training with Clay. He’s the top guy in the nation. Not every guy gets to train with the top guy in the nation every day. So, I don’t take that for granted,” said fellow senior Sam Ferguson. “I just leaned into that, and we pushed each other and in workouts, and so in the race, I was like, I can stay with him, and I tried to stay with him.”
Ferguson placed third with a personal best time of 15:00.30.
“There’s only been five guys in Kansas history break 15 minutes, and we felt like Sam was going to be the sixth. So, 15 flat points three is pretty darn close,” said Carroll.
In the girls’ 5,000-meter run, Trinity Academy sophomore Emily Hein led the Knights with a sixth-place finish.
“I wanted to go out hard, but not too hard. So, I didn’t die in the middle of the race and try to maintain a good effort throughout the whole thing,” she said.
“She had a great track season. This summer, she has been super consistent and has been able to stay healthy, and she’s putting in some amazing work. And so, it was great to see her finally kind of break out,” said Hein’s head coach.
Back to the boys, the Knights are chasing a third straight Class 3A team state championship.
“Yeah, there have been some coaches that have told us that we could be the best ever, and you know, we definitely have the first school this size. To be in that conversation is unique,” said Carroll. “I mean, there’s 280 plus kids at Trinity, you know, and so to be in that conversation is definitely unique.”