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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Young Jayhawk runners show promise for future

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Wearing his signature shades, Dillon Champlin keeps his pace up on the final kilometer in the 5K men's run at Pleasanton on Thursday, Oct. 5. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Graduation last May took a heavy toll on the Jayhawk-Linn High School cross-country team, particularly on the girls side.

Marissa Batcheler, Madeline Batcheler, Cynthia Cazares, and Dakota Wallace left with their diplomas and with them went a group of consistent distance runners. However, in their absence a whole new crop of runners has stepped up. And while the Jayhawks won’t be pocketing any varsity team metals this season, the future looks bright for the team.

Jayhawk senior Dillon Champlin has consistently placed in or near the top 10 runners in varsity races, he was joined by brothers Simon and Louis Shillito in the top 10 at the Pleasanton Invitational last Thursday.

At the Pleasanton meet, Champlin placed fifth with a time of 17:40.78, a little over a minute and a half behind the first- and second-place runners from Girard. Simon Shillito placed seventh with a time about 23 seconds slower than Champlin and Louis Shillito was just 10 seconds back for eighth place. Kollin Malinowshy placed 35th.

“Dillon is having a good season,” said head cross country Coach Shayla Long on Wednesday, Oct. 11. “He worked hard this summer and he’s seeing the benefits of that now. It’s been fun to watch him progress. He was sick this weekend, so we’re all hoping that his body handles that well and he finishes the season strong.”

The Jayhawk high school cross-country team includes, front row from left, Wiliam Lloyd, Adison Randall, Danyka Pointer, Brylee Doleshal, Bri Seely; back row, Louis Shillito, Simon Shillito, James Spitzenberger, Dillon Champlin, Kollyn Malinowsky, Coawen David and JJ Rank. (Bonnie Riley)

The Shillito brothers, including Martin Shillito who won the boys seventh-grade 2-mile run, are home-schooled students. Under new rules approved by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) this year, students who are home schooled can compete for approved schools.

“The Shillito boys have improved every meet,” Long said. “They are still home schooled, but are allowed to run this year, and it’s been good for everyone. They have found their groove and it’s fun to watch them improve and run tougher every meet.”

Brylee Doleshal works to catch the next runner in the women's 5K race. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

With the girls’ varsity team depleted by graduation, Brylee Doleshal has been consistently chipping away at her time. She placed eighth at Pleasanton with a time of 23:21.33, and her teammate Adison Randall placed 22nd.

While no Jayhawk runners were entered in the junior varsity races at Pleasanton, the junior high runners competed well in the 2-mile run.

“Our junior high kids are running very well,” the coach said. “They work hard and want to perform well. Daniel Brake, Lily Meyer, and Martin Shillito have all won a couple races recently.

The Jayhawk junior high cross-country team includes, front from from left, Martin Shillito, Caleb Green, Josie Wade, Gabby Parsons, Lily Meyer, Jayden Mayhugh; back row, Hazel Vaughn, Haelie Wallace, Allie Thomas, Cooper Lanham, Ryland Summers, Daniel Brake and Alayna McCarty. (Bonnie Riley)

“The rest of the eighth-grade girls are doing great, really all of them. It makes me excited about their teams in the future.”

Brake took first place in the eighth-grade boys race with a time of 11:40.89, and he was followed closely by Jayden Mayhugh in third. Cooper Lanham placed 14th in the race.

Lily Meyer maintains her lead as she enters the final half mile of the eighth-grade race. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Meyer won the eighth-grade girls race with a time of 13:11.66. She was about a minute ahead of her second-place teammate Gabby Parsons. Jayhawk runner Allie Thomas was third; Alayna McCarty, fourth; Hailey Wallace, fifth; and Hazel Vaughn, 11th. The girls eighth-grade team also took home first-place team medals.

Martin Shillito placed first in the seventh-grade boys run with a time of 12:46.15 followed second-place Ryland Summers about 20 seconds back.

Josie Wade was the sole Jayhawk seventh-grade girls runner, and she took fourth place in the race with a time of 14:21.11 over the 2-mile course.

Daniel Brake keeps well ahead of the other runners in the eighth-grade boys event. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

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