Monett Invitational course challenges runners

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Every year, when the discussion of toughest cross-country courses is raised, the 5K widow maker at Monett's City Park is high on the list.

The combination of long, steep hills and short vertical challenges punish runners through every mile, and the times that seem so slow are indicative of the challenge.

Carlton Efurd, the state champion coach of the Rogers (Ark.) Mounties, used to host "The Eliminator," a 5K fundraiser that included an impossible hill in the final mile.

"I guarantee your next 5K will be faster," Efurd always included in his pre-race remarks.

The same guarantee could apply to the Monett course, where distance runners returned to again face the challenge on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

So when Glendale senior Spencer Haik tamed the South Park hills to win the large school varsity boys race in 16:55, runners and coaches around the state took notice.

Haik, a 4:11 miler and one of the favorites for the state cross-country meet, received as much love from the social media sites as the sub-16 performers at the Missouri Southern Stampede.

The Nixa Eagles generated some chatter too, as they captured the large school boys team title. The Eagles placed four runners in the top six and their fifth runner placed 12th posting a winning score of 28.

The host Monett Cubs placed 7th in the boys team standings.

Monett boys

33. Erwin Perez, 20:32.

35. Joel Diaz, 20:42.

37. Jonah Ragsdale, 20:49.

38. Dalton Paynter, 20:58.

40. Conor Launis, 21:14.

41. Aaron Morley, 21:32.

50. Ben Morris, 23:11.

In the large schools varsity girls division, Nixa flirted with a perfect score, winning with a total of 19 points.

Sophomore Ellie Moon paced the Lady Eagles with her 21:01 winning time. Nixa's seventh runner finished 13th in a dominating team performance.

The Monett Lady Cubs placed fifth in the team standings with 118 points.

Monett girls

17. Grace Cloud, 24:14.

23. Birdianna Salas, 25:28.

27. Madeleine Weber, 25:40.

34. Carmen Renteria, 27:57.

35. Brianna Salas, 28:00.

Kaden Overstreet paced Lamar to a close win in the small school boys race.

Overstreet and teammate Nicholas Ray finished 1-2 as the Tigers edged Springfield Catholic, 49-51. Southwest finished 10th with 257 points and Wheaton was 12th with 288.

Southwest boys

38. Zach MIles, 21:11.

58. Seth Delossantos, 23:18.

71. Paton Clay, 25:19.

75. Skyler Willer, 26:13.

81. Levi Moore, 27:47.

Wheaton boys

59. Tate Banks, 23:24.

70. Joey Robbins, 25:05.

76. Christian Dunegan, 26:24.

79. Austin Trent, 27:01.

80. Tyler Pruitt, 27:30.

There were only two complete teams in the small school girls race. But the Lady Irish from Springfield Catholic would have beaten all the other schools combined, as the girls in green placed all seven runners in the top 11 places.

Chase Burns, of Wheaton, was the top area runner, placing 15th in 24:06. Purdy's Mergan Thomas was 25th in 26:39, Wheaton's Brittany Harmons placed 26th in 27:03, and Krista Dunegan, of Wheaton, was 40th in 43:14.

Monett will be back in action on Sept. 28 at East Newton.

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