Yocham, Sicka medal at KU’s Rim Rock

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

LAWRENCE — Rim Rock Cross County Classic is a multi-state high school competition hosted by the University of Kansas at Rim Rock Farm each year.
With that said, Iola High’s Mustangs finished 10th as a team in the Rim Rock Blue Division Saturday. Iola sophomore Roman Yocham captured the 10th-place individual medal and Yates Center High senior Dylan Sicka claimed the 18th-place medal in the 5K race.
“Roman continues with his good string of races. He started out rather fast, running 13th at the mile mark,” said Marvin Smith, Iola High cross country coach. “The top eight teams in the Blue Division were from Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. We were the second Kansas team in the places.”
There were 200 runners in the Blue Division race. Rim Rock has three divisions — Gold, Crimson and Blue. The Blue Division is primarily for 4A schools and smaller but a team can compete up a division. Smith said Baldwin, DeSoto, Mulvane and Wamego — all Kansas Class 4A schools — ran in the other divisions.
Yocham ran the challenging Rim Rock course in 17 minutes, 27 seconds. Sicka clocked in at 17:56.05.
“This challenging course was made more difficult by the rains early Saturday morning, which made many of the hills extremely slick and treacherous,” said Kevin Barnes, Yates Center cross country coach. Sicka was the lone YCHS runner.
Iola’s No. 2 runner was senior Kent Toland, finishing 42nd in 18:26. Ryan Latta, another seniors, competed for the first time in three weeks and placed 89th in 19:27, just ahead of teammate Bryan Miller. Miller, a sophomore, was 90th with the same time as Latta.
Just three seconds back (19:30) was senior Michael Middleton in 96th place. Junior Dylan Lower was 111th in 19:52 and senior Aaron Cheung 142nd in 20:25.
“Rim Rock is just a different kind of race, much like the state meet,” Smith said. “At invitationals, the field gets spread out along the course. At Rim Rock, you are constantly surrounded by a host of runners who are challenging you the entire distance.
“There is no place to relax and enjoy the race. Kent was 17 places from a medal but only 15 seconds back.”
Smith said the Mustangs had very good races for the course conditions. “The hills kept out times slower than on the courses we have been running.”
Iola also took a junior varsity to Rim Rock for the first time. The Blue and Crimson divisions ran together for junior varsities. Iola placed 14th and 12 of the teams ahead of Iola were Class 5A or 6A and Wamego (4A) placed sixth.
Ryan Weir, a senior who has been hampered with illness, led the Mustang junior varsity with a 37th placing in 19:49. Freshman Garrett Catron was 68th in 20:22, followed by senior Seth Kristalyn in 73rd in 20:28 and freshman Jordan Strickler in 112th in 21:21.
Senior Chris Harrington placed 114th in 21:25 and sophomore Brent Clark was 160th in 22:25. There were 217 runners in the race.
“This was a great experience for our two freshmen. It was their first 5K race and the hills were challenging,” Smith said.