by JON DYKSTRA The Iola Register | October 10, 2016
VICTORIA — This is the time of the season that Red Devil cross country coach Vince DeGrado has been pointing to all season and he feels that at least one of his squads is ready for the bright lights of the conference meet in three weeks. "I'm OK with three weeks off," DeGrado said. "A lot of teams wouldn't like it, but with the work we can do in that time it is good. You will see a whole different team in three weeks.
The Red Devil men dominated the Tiger Open in Victoria on Saturday taking first as a team with 60 points while the next closest teams were Cowley County Community College and Trinidad State Junior College with 136 points each. "For the first 2 miles, I was a little concerned, because I didn't think we established ourselves very well early, but that is an easy fix and I have a good idea why it happened," DeGrado said. "The second half, they got moving and really picked off people and I look for them to continue to get better."
The team was able to dominate even without star sophomore Ricardo Banuelos running in the 'college' race. DeGrado chose to push his team's leader and have him run in the 'university' race. "I wanted us to learn not to depend on Ricardo and run as a team and that way the team will do a lot better," DeGrado said. "We had some guys step up and that is what you want to see. We've got three weeks to get prepared and continue to develop."
Banuelos took 25th in that race with a 24:59.1; a time that would have earned him second in the 'college' race and put further distance between Allen and the rest of the field. The team had two runners that will prove to be very important in three weeks leading the way. Phillip Lagemann and Anthony Glasgow finished 4th and 5th. Paul Becker was the next finisher in 20th with Obed Quintana taking 23rd.
"I was going to redshirt (Glasgow) because he came in with an injury, but how he was running in practice and developing I decided to pull the redshirt and race him," DeGrado said. "I wouldn't waste his season, if I didn't think he was going to make an impact."
Jesus Gutierrez rounded out the team scoring in 32nd. Other Allen finishers were: Ludreche Bouanga in 34th, Alejandro Ruiz in 42nd, Ben Lucier in 44th and Ryan Yarde in 64th.
"I think we are underrated," DeGrado said. "There are some people overlooking us and that is fine. We aren't flashy, but I can say we've got a group of runners that really wants to get faster." "Don't be surprised when we win in 3 weeks." DeGrado said. We'll line them up see who brings it best. I know our guys would like to get a little payback from our loss to Butler.
Red Devils will be in action again Oct 29th in Hutchinson, KS for the Region 6/Jayhawk East Conference Championships.