Seaman’s Maliki Pope notches personal best, takes second in Joe Schrag Invitational

After a fourth-place finish to start his junior season, Seaman cross country standout Maliki Pope followed up with a runner-up finish in Saturday’s Topeka West Joe Schrag Invitational at Felker Park.


Now Pope has one thing on the top of his bucket list.

“Get a win,” said Pope, who clocked a five-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 36.1 seconds in Saturday’s race.

Pope, 36th in the Class 5A state meet for the fourth-place Vikings as a sophomore, said he feels like he’s getting closer and closer to achieving that goal every time out.

“I was definitely looking to get a (personal record) today and I got my PR today,” Pope said. “It’s definitely a big mental sport, thinking through your races and just knowing that you can do it, knowing that you can push harder and get those times you’re looking to get every season. Every week’s different. You go out and you learn more every week and if you make a mistake you correct it and if you do really well you learn from it and try to apply it again.”

Pope said he learned a lot from former Viking star Dawson Podlena, who is now running for the Naval Academy after earning multiple 5A state medals for Seaman.

“Dawson was a great runner, a great athlete, a great student, a great leader and taught me a lot,” Pope said. “I tried to pick up something from him every week, something new that he was doing as a leader on the team.”

Leavenworth junior Danny Bohnemann won the boys individual title (16:18.8) while Pope sprinted past Shawnee Mission East junior Griffin Keeter for second, with Keeter taking third (16:40.0).

SM East won the team title by a 34-39 margin over Leavenworth. Seaman was third with 47 points.

Viking senior Nathan Heinen finished eighth individually while sophomore Taegan Loy was 10th. Juniors Devon Eich and Jace Mitchell finished 13th and 14th to round out Seaman’s top five.

“We’re young and there’s not a ton of experience, but we can see really steady growth with them and the enthusiasm of the group is good,” Seaman coach Luke Wiens said.

Freshman Addison Sigg led Topeka High with a 18th-place finish while host Topeka West was led by junior Ethan Sims, who was 21st.

Topeka High junior Abby Wagemaker was third individually in the girls race, clocking a time of 20:53.2 to finish behind SM East senior Ingrid Worth (20:11.7) and Leavenworth sophomore Maddy Walters (20:32.5).

Wagemaker got the 2016 season off to a great start, including multiple runner-up finishes, before she suffered a stress fracture and then a concussion in a car accident that continued to bother her through the 2017 track season. Wagemaker said she is just now getting back to where she wants to be.

“It’s coming, so hopefully by the end of the season I’ll be doing a lot better,” Wagemaker said.

“She’s focused and has had good workouts,” Topeka High coach Monica Schrag said of Wagemaker. “I think she’s back.”

Junior Erin Hebert paced Seaman with an eighth-place finish while Seaman seniors Emily Jowers and Katy Mulqueen placed 17th and 18th and sophomore Suzanna Mosqueda was 19th.

Sophomore Aaliyah Bueno and senior Emma Palmer took 23rd and 24th to lead Topeka West.

SM East won the team title by a 24-33 margin over Leavenworth, with the Lancers placing four runners in the top seven.


Team scores

SM East 24, Leavenworth 33.

Individual results

1. Worth, SME, 20:11.7; 2. Walters, Leav., 20:32.5; 3. Wagemaker, TH, 20:53.2; 4. McCaskey, SME, 21:02.4; 5. Manner, Leav, 21:05.8; 6. Stanley, SME, 21:06.1; 7. Hlobik, SME, 21:33,8; 8. Hebert, Sea, 21:34.1; 9. Lincon, Leav, 21:52.1; 10. Bailey, Leav, 21:58.7.


SM East 34, Leavenworth 39, Seaman 47, Topeka West 123, Topeka High 130.

Individual results

1. Bohnemann, Leav, 16:18.8; 2. Pope, Sea, 16:36.1; 3. Keeter, SME, 16:40.0; 4. Brown, SME, 17:21.2; 5. Hendrix, Leav, 17:21.8; 6. Finnigan, Leav, 17:33.6; 7. McKnight, SME, 17:37.8; 8. Heinen, Sea, 17:43.7; 9. Fisher, 17:46.6; 10. Loy, Sea, 17:51.6.



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