Area runners shine at state championships
By taking second at district, the Southwest Trojans managed to qualify a team to the MSHSAA state cross country championships in their first season of competition in Class 2. At state on Saturday, they scratched out a 13th place finish while missing their top runner, Caleb Mitchell.
Cassville also competed in a bigger class this year with the Ladycat squad finishing 16th as a team in Class 3.
Southwest's Logan Pendergraft led the Trojans with his 41st place finish. His 18:05 was the fastest performance of any Barry County runner. He was supported by Dustin Breedlove in 100th, Luke Hackett in 107th, Kyle Buttrum in 117th and Codie Harmon in 147th.
Charlotte Buttrum of Southwest place 72nd in Class 2 girls with a time of 22:33.
"We were the only team that moved up from Class 1 to qualify a boys team this year," said Southwest Coach Lee Stubblefield. "All my kids exceeded my time expectations, and I am very proud of the way they represented our school."
After a period of mild weather, runners were shocked by the conditions at Oak Hills. Intermittent rain and drizzle combined with a chilling wind to dampen spirits of runners and spectators alike. Then the first race of Class 3 girls was marred by two false starts before West Plains rolled to victory with 73 points.
The Cassville Ladycat squad was led by Tia Baker in 124th with a time of 22:45. Courtney Beagle was 133rd, Ron'L Hoff was 151st, Misty Long was 153rd, Gabby Vincent was 162nd, Ariell Abramovitz was 163rd and Gabby LeCompte was 165th.
In Class 3 Boys, Ryan Hamilton of Cassville placed 106th in 18:20, in a race that will be remembered for the perfect score of the winning Potosi team.
"This was a competitive field to compete with. We knew we had our work cut out for us after being bumped up a Class 3," said Cassville Coach Chris Shore. "There were 10 schools with over 1,000 enrollment in our class.
"Our kids have already set their sights on going back next year, and we have a better idea of how much better we need to be," Shore added.
The Class 4 races went to the Liberty Girls and the Fort Zumwalt South boys. Class 2 belonged to the unsung boys of John Burroughs and the powerful girls from Herculaneum.
After five years of domination by West Platte and Saxony Lutheran, Class 1 finally produced a new boys champion, Lone Jack. The last team to win other than West Platte and Saxony was Southwest in 2000. Penney-Hamilton repeated as champions in Class 1 girls.
Tammy Tiles of Purdy earned All-State honors with her 21:58 performance for 23rd place in the Class 1 girls race. Brittney Peters, of Wheaton, finished in 99th place with a time of 25:03.27.
In Class 1 boys, Chris Musick, of Wheaton, was the top area runner. He finished in 73rd place with a time of 19:26.91. Blake Williams, of Purdy, finished in 134th place with a time of 20:39.59.