Nobody who watched the Kansas 6A girls cross country state meet in 2010 could forget the sight of Shawnee Mission West sophomore Alli Cash collapsing in the final 50 meters then crawling across the finish line as competitors streamed past.
Cash, now a senior, never forgot either.
“Mentally, every time she comes back here, I think that’s in the back of her head at the starting line, but it’s been motivation for her throughout her career to get better too,” Vikings coach Jeff Onnen said.
Of course, it’s easy to say that now after Cash conquered Rim Rock – put it in a chokehold beat it silly really.
Cash shattered the course record during the Rim Rock Farms Classic in September – winning in 13 minutes, 59.3 seconds.
She returned a month later and won her second straight 6A championship in 14:02.8 by a margin of more than 1:07.
“Comparing that to another sport, to put it in perspective, that’s like a football team going to state and winning 56-0,” Onnen said. “She runs at a completely different level than anyone else in Kansas right now.”
Undefeated as senior before she finished sixth at the Nike Cross National Heartland Regional on Nov. 11 at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls, S.D., Cash is entrenched as one of the best distance runners in the state’s history.
Cash, who easily won Sunflower League and regional championships, also was an easy choice to repeat as The Star’s All-Metro girls cross country runner of the year.
“The thing that really strikes me about Alli and maybe really separates her from other runners is that whenever she’s encountered an obstacle or challenge, she never backed down from it,” Onnen said. “She always stayed positive and it only made her work harder and harder.”
Cash hasn’t decided where she’ll take her talents next season, but Onnen said she’s considering Georgetown, Stanford, Oregon, Kansas and Arkansas.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.