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Cross Country

High School Cross Country: Jackson reigns supreme at SEMO Conference Meet

Last week, the Jackson cross country teams took part in the annual SEMO Conference Meet, and as recent history has shown, the Indians came away successful.

The girls team was able to win its fourth-straight conference championship with a score of 21 as six runners earned all-conference honors.

Becoming a two-time individual conference champion was senior Kennedy Bauer as she won the race for a second-straight year with a time of 19 minutes, 28 seconds. Last season, Bauer won the race at 20:09.

This was also Bauer’s third time earning all-conference honors since she took sixth overall at 19:36 as a sophomore in 2016.

Senior Kaylee Wilson, who won all-conference honors for the fourth time in her career, finished behind Bauer in second place at 20:29. Wilson also took second in the conference meet as a sophomore with a time of 18:59.

Wilson placed sixth last year after returning from a hip injury, finishing with a time of 21:25. She took seventh place as a freshman at 20:41.

Only four of the top 10 runners in the race weren’t from Jackson as sophomore Elizabeth Steele took fifth overall by crossing the finish line at 20:58, followed by freshman Layla Fliege in sixth (21:00), senior Faith Littleton seventh (21:03) and freshman Maite Mendez eighth (21:09).

Like Bauer, Littleton also became a three-time all-conference honoree as she finished fourth at 21:20 last year and fifth at 19:27 in 2016.

The seventh and final runner for the girls team was freshman Addie Heisserer, who came in 14th place at 22:13.

Cape Notre Dame came in second place behind the Jackson girls with a score of 47 as freshman Esperanza Zalite took third behind Bauer and Wilson. Bulldogs sophomore Paige Beussink and senior Bailey Beussink rounded out the top 10 in ninth and 10th place respectively.

The Jackson boys won the conference meet for a fifth-straight year as four of the team’s runners earned all-conference honors.

Winning the race was Notre Dame junior Blake Morris with a time of 15:47, which helped lead the Bulldogs to a second-place finish with 44 points behind Jackson’s 36.

Crossing the finish line first for the Indians was junior Luke Wendel, who took fourth overall by finishing the race at 17:01. Last season, Wendel was one place shy of earning all-conference in 11th place.

Finishing behind him for the Indians was senior Scout Pettit by taking sixth place with a time of 17:15.  Pettit became a three-time all-conference honoree with the finish as he took fifth last year (17:29) and seventh (17:12) in 2016.

Seven seconds behind Pettit to take seventh place was sophomore Evan Step-hens at 17:22. Another seven seconds behind Stephens was junior Ethan Walz, who came away with eighth place by crossing the finish line at 17:29.

The team’s final three runners failed to earn all-conference, but they did each manage to finish in the top 15.

Senior Landon Carlton was one spot shy of earning accolades in 11th place with a time of 17:45, which was nine seconds behind 10th-place finisher Poplar Bluff senior Dylan Cisne at 17:36.

Fellow senior Gavin Jones took 12th place at 17:53 as junior Will McQuade ended up 15th overall (18:37).

Both junior varsity teams won their respective races and had the top finisher in each contest.

For the girls, it was sophomore Sophie McCadams with a time of 22:14. Sophomore Jack McCormack won the boys race at 17:51.

“We were very proud of all of the runners for running hard for the wins in all divisions,” Jackson Head Coach Andrea Talley said. “Many runners ran personal best times or season best times on the Notre Dame course.”

The postseason is now upon us for Class 4 as each district race will be held this Saturday. Jackson will be hosting the District 1 races with a start time of 11 a.m. at the city park.

In last year’s district race, the girls team took second with 73 points behind champion Lindbergh at 57. The boys took fourth with a score of 116 as Lindbergh won that race as well with 65 points.

The last time either team won the district meet was in 2016 as the girls took first en route to a state championship. Wilson won that year’s race as Bauer took second in 2017.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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