For the first time since wining state back in 2016, the Jackson girls cross country team will make a return to Jefferson City.
The girls qualified for this Saturday’s Class 4 State Meet by taking fourth place with a score of 100, despite not being ranked in the pre-meet top five of Saturday’s Class 4 Sectional 1 Meet held in Washington.
Jackson was also able to avenge taking second place to Lindbergh in the Class 4 District 1 Meet to end the Flyers season as a team, finishing with a 121 this weekend.
Parkway West won the race with 49 points as Marquette came in at second with 72 followed by third-place Eureka, which scored 73.
Winning the race individually was Marquette sophomore Katelynn Quade with a time of 19 minutes, 30.2 seconds. Coming in behind Quade 3.36 seconds later to take second was none other than Jackson senior Kennedy Bauer at 19:33.56 to garner all-sectional honors.
Bauer has now finished in the top two over the last three races by winning both the conference and district meets.
This year’s finish is the highest Bauer has ever placed at sectionals, but she was also able to earn honors in last year’s race when she took 12th place to qualify for state.
Climbing 25 spots from her 50th-place finish in 2017 was fellow senior Kaylee Wilson as she took 25th place in this year’s sectional meet by recording a time of 20:27.72.
As a sophomore, Wilson earned all-sectional by placing 15th overall, finishing with a time of 20:40.46. She was 20th overall as a freshman at 20:18.16.
The next four runners for Jackson all finished in the top 50 with freshman Maite Mendez coming in third for the Indians at 41st place with a time of 20:57.42.
Next for the girls team was another underclassman in sophomore Elizabeth Steele, who recorded a finish of 21:05.86 to take 44th place.
Freshman Layla Fliege finished .85 seconds after Steele to take 45th place by crossing the finish line at 21:06.71. Senior Faith Littleton came in 1.53 seconds after Fliege for a 46th-place finish with a time of 21:08.24.
This was the first time Littleton placed outside of the top 35 at sectionals since she took 33rd overall (20:25.47) last year and 31st (21:20.35) as a sophomore.
The seventh and final finisher for Jackson was sophomore Sophie McCadams, who finished the race at 21:13.33 to take 70th.
As for the boys team, only one runner was able to qualify for state as Jackson took sixth place with a total of 129 points.
The winner of the meet was Lafayette with 47 points followed by runner-up Kirkwood (50), third-place SLUH (72) and fourth-place Marquette (99).
Only a total of six runners from Class 4 District 1 qualified to state, and for Jackson it was junior Luke Wendel, who took 27th place with a time of 17:12.44.
Wendel continues the three-year streak of only one runner from Jackson’s boys team advancing to state. Ean Buffington did so his junior and senior year.
Wendel has now been the top finisher for Jackson in the last three meets as he took fourth at conference and eighth in districts.
The cutoff for qualifying for state was 30th place as two more runners finished in the top 40 for Jackson.
Senior Scout Pettit took 35th place at 17:33.37 as sophomore Evan Stephens finished 1.16 seconds later at 17:34.53 to finish 36th.
Three more runners placed in the top 50 for Jackson as junior Ethan Walz took 42nd (17:49.37), senior Landon Carlton 43rd (17:53.39) and finally senior Gavin Jones in 48th (18:04.3).
The final finisher for Jackson was sophomore Jack McCormack as he took 55th place at 18:12.68.
“Our seniors were true leaders today,” Jackson Head Coach Andrea Talley said. “Scout, Landon and Gavin were on a mission and finished higher than they have ever placed in a sectional meet. Our sectional is the toughest in the state since District 2 is so strong, so their places were impressive.”
For the girls team, Bauer, Littleton and Wilson all enter state as former state champions as they were a part of the first team in program history to do so.
Bauer and Wilson have also garnered all-state honors in past meets. Bauer took 18th overall in last year’s race with a time of 19:29.03. In 2016, Wilson took 17th overall at 19:14.09 en route to the Class 4 State Championship.
Bauer finished 49th overall that year with a 19:57.42 as Littleton took 65th place with a time of 20:05.07.
Wilson also competed at state as a freshman back in 2015 when Jackson took fourth place as she took 61st place at 20:15.97.