LOUISBURG — Few runners have had the impact on a team Jaden Vohs did this season for the Louisburg Wildcat cross country team.
Vohs, a senior, was the team’s No. 1 runner this season.
He helped lead the Wildcats back to state for the second year in a row, pacing the team with a third-place finish in the Class 4A regional meet at Baldwin. Louisburg was runner-up in the meet, punching a ticket for state.
Vohs ran a season-best time of 16 minutes, 39 seconds in the meet. It was the second best time turned in all season by area runners.
He went on to lead the Wildcats at the state meet in Wamego, placing 12th.
What makes his impact even more incredible is that 2021 was the first time Vohs went out for cross country.
Vohs was named the Tri-County Spotlight Runner of the Year. He was one of seven runners on the Spotlight first team.
“Getting this award means a lot to me,” Vohs said. “One of my goals this year was to get Tri-County Spotlight Runner of the Year. The season was a great overall experience. Even though I had to run up some steep hills to achieve my goals, it was all worth the pain and commitment.
“To me cross country is a very overlooked sport,” he said. “Not only is it very mentally challenging, but it is also easy to give up and quit. Cross country has helped me as a person to be more disciplined and build my mentality up.”
Vohs did a lot in his one season of cross country for the Wildcats, Louisburg coach John Reece said.
“One would never know that this is Jaden’s first year as a senior,” Reece said. “He is a great leader. He cares about his performance individually, but also to benefit the team as best he can. He has a selfless attitude.
“Jaden had an awesome season, especially being his first season. He really flattened the learning curve on how to race the 5K,” Reece said. “He is a great leader both emotionally and by the way he works in practice. He pushes himself and expects the same from his teammates. After last season’s qualifying team, which had two strong seniors on it, he stepped in and was a key role in taking the team back to state for a second year in a row.”
Vohs’ personal record time of 16:39 puts him No. 2 on the all-time Louisburg Wildcat cross country leader board.
“Before I started the season, I wanted to get my name on our school board for the top cross country personal records,” Vohs said. “I never expected to get second best in school history. This whole season has taught me that putting your mind to something can lead to things you never thought you could do.”
He placed third in the Frontier League meet at Baldwin, covering the course in 16:45. Vohs was first-team all-league with his performance.
His 12th-place finish at state earned him second-team all-state honors. He was first-team all-regional with a third-place finish.
“Medaling at league, regional and state was another goal I had for the season,” Vohs said. “I knew that it would take commitment and a strong mindset.
“Our team being runner-up at regionals was a huge accomplishment,” he said. “It is something that has never been done in our school history. Running with my whole team at state definitely calmed me down, knowing we were in it all together.
Vohs won the Louisburg Invitational on Thursday, Oct. 7, setting the pace with a time of 17:14. He helped the Wildcats defeat the Spring Hill Broncos by one point for the team title in the meet.
He won the Ramsey Cross Country Invitational at La Cygne in September, crossing the finish line in 17:30, leading the Wildcats to the team title.