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Cross Country

Jackson cross country has five of six teams take first place in annual invitational Saturday

Jackson seniors Maite Mendez, Brooklyn Burgess, Layla Fliege and Addie Heisserer pose with the Jackson Invitational Senior Girls Championship plaque after winning Saturday's race. Photo by Andrea Talley

After a season where both the Jackson boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the Class 5 State Meet in 2020, the Indians officially returned to action for the annual Jackson Invitational on Saturday.

For this invitational, each team splits up its runner grade-by-grade making for a total of eight races as Jackson was able to win a total of five of them while placing in the top three of two others.

Starting off with the senior class, the Indians girls squad led by four all-conference and all-district returnees took first overall. Layla Fliege crossed the finish line first for Jackson at 15 minutes, 37 seconds for a second-place finish, while Addie Heisserer took third overall at 15:40.

Heisserer was last year’s Class 5 District 1 Champion and also finished the highest at state for Jackson’s girls team last year at 38th place. Fliege also placed in the top 100 at state by taking 80th overall.

The next senior Indian to finish the race for Jackson in Saturday’s invitational was Brooklyn Burgess, who took fourth place with a time of 16:09. Last but not least, was Maite Mendez who placed in the top 10 as well to medal by taking seventh overall (16:37).

The Indians second and final upperclass team to win its race was the junior boys squad as it had three runners take the top-three spots. Winning the race individually was Hunter Wendel as he crossed the line at 12:33, while Cole Puls took second (12:44) followed by Evan Kiefer (12:54) in third.

Jackson’s junior boys squad had two other runners place in the top 25 to also medal, which were Andrew Boyd in 16th place (14:38) and Alex Niedhalski in 19th (14:45).

Jackson’s sophomore boys team also took home a championship plaque as it had four runners place in the top 15: Bryce Gentry first (12:59), Zach Brazel seventh (14:02), Eli Bowyer ninth (14:15) and Jack Hutson (14:47).

As for the freshman races, Jackson won both races as its girls squad had five runners medal, while the boys team finished with three medalists overall.

Placing in the top 10 for Jackson’s girls team was Annika Barks in second place (12:58) and Darcy Brady in seventh (14:06).

The boys freshman team had two in the top 10 as well: Chase Goodson third (11:34) and Aiden Hottes (12:06).

One of Jackson’s other top-three finishes included the junior girls team, which saw each of its four runners medal in the race. Mallorie Metzger crossed the finish line first for the Indians at third with a time of 15:55 as London Popp paced her in sixth place at 16:35. Mara Wilson and Sadie Middleton medaled as well by taking 11th (17:47) and 13th place (17:55), respectively.

Jackson’s sophomore girls took third overall and only had one runner in the top 10: Grace Kurtz eighth (17:44).

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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