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Cross Country

High School Cross Country: Oak Ridge boys win first state title; Jackson comes away with promise

The cross country Class 1, 2, 3 and 4 State Championship Meet was held this past Saturday in Columbia as the Oak Ridge boys team was able to win the first state championship in program history.

The Blue Jays took home the Class 1 title as two of their runners placed in the top 25 to earn all-state honors, while the final three scores came in the top 86. Oak Ridge took second in last year’s state meet behind Kansas City Lutheran.

Finishing first for Oak Ridge was senior Tanner Schamburg, who took 14th place with a time of 17 minutes, 29.7 seconds. He finished 36th overall at 18:55.43 in last year’s meet.

The next all-state finisher for the Blue Jays was junior Philip Marshall, coming in at 22nd place by posting a time of 17:37.1. Last season, Marshall placed right behind Schamburg in 37th place when he crossed the finish line at 18:56.1.

Coming in third place for Oak Ridge was junior Mason Keith with a 31st-overall finish at 17:51.2. Sophomore Justin Ward took fourth for the Blue Jays as he posted a time of 18:43.2.

The final runner counted towards Oak Ridge’s final score was senior Bryce Hahs, who took 86th place with a time of 19:00.4.

The two final runners for Oak Ridge to compete in the race were sophomores Eli Sachse (19:27.8) and Logan Dewitt (21:30), who placed 106th and 158th respectively.

Oak Ridge’s girls team also qualified for this year’s state meet but took 13th overall as a team. The Blue Jays top finisher was sophomore Jiliyan Hobeck in 69th place with a time of 23:27.7.

Moving up to Class 4, Jackson only managed to send a combined total of four runners this season as three boys and one girl advanced to Columbia.

The boys only had one of its three runners place in the top 100 as senior Luke Wendel took 39th place in the final cross country race of his high school career. Wendel did so by posting a time of 16 minutes, 17 seconds.

Wendel was the only runner for Jackson’s boys team to advance to state last season, where he placed 91st overall at 17:29.75.

Winning this year’s Class 4 boys race was Rockhurst senior Wesley Porter, who did so with a time of 15:07.4. Raymore Peculiar won the meet with a score of 104.

“Luke moved up continually throughout the race, and he ran very well by running his second fastest time of the season,” Jackson head coach Andrea Talley said. “The competition level in Class 4 was record breaking in terms of times. Luke had an amazing cross country career here at Jackson and will definitely be missed. His work ethic is outstanding and hopefully all of the younger runners will emulate that dedication.”

Finishing second for Jackson behind Wendel was junior Evan Stephens, who placed 103rd overall in his first state meet with a time of 16:45.7.

Finishing seven spots behind Wendel was the team’s third and final runner freshman Cade McCadams. McCadams took 110th place by crossing the finish line at 16:49.1.

“Evan and Cade ran close and also moved up continually in the race, running some of their best times of the season,” Coach Talley. “They know this new course now, so they will be ready for next year. Evan had an amazing season — I can’t wait to see what he can do this spring and next year. Cade ran his personal best time on the state course. Only a handful of freshman even qualify for the state meet, and Cade was one of the fastest.”

The lone runner to compete for Jackson’s girls team was sophomore Layla Fliege, who had been dealing with a calf injury for the majority of the season. She overcame that by helping her team win conference and advance to sectionals.

Fliege, who helped Jackson place 10th last year, finished 12 spots behind her 2018 finish [116th; 21:21.49] as she placed 128th overall by posting a time of 20:41.7.

“[Fliege] didn’t have the same race as last Saturday, but she still ran in the 20-minute range, which is good for her comeback,” Coach Talley said. “She has incredible potential and drive, so this championship experience will provide a huge boost. The coaching staff definitely came away from the meet excited for the potential of next fall.”

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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