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Cross Country

Jackson, Oak Ridge and Saxony cross country sending several to state

Jackson girls junior Annika Barks became a first-time state qualifier with a fifth-place finish in the Class 5 District 1 Meet on Saturday in Cedar Hill. Photo by Nick McNeal

On Saturday prior to the rainfall, area cross country programs Jackson, Oak Ridge and Saxony Lutheran all had runners qualify for the upcoming state meets this weekend.

Oak Ridge was the only school of the three to have an entire squad advance as its boys team took second place in the Class 1 District 1 Meet held at Notre Dame.

All five of the Blue Jays top-five runners finished in the top 30 to earn all-district as seniors Brock Hobeck and Ty Wilson finished in second and third place with times of 17 minutes, 40.38 seconds and 17:43.63, respectively.

The Oak Ridge’s boys team third runner to finish in the top 20 was junior Cohen Hahs as he took 18th place by posting a finish of 18:31.2.

Blue Jays sophomore Jayden McAlister and senior Karson Ward finished fourth and fifth in 24th (18:52.5) and 26th place (18:55.07). Also earning all-district for Oak Ridge was sophomore Parker Schoen at 27th overall with a time of 18:55.74.

The Oak Ridge boys will hope to place in the top four at state for the fifth time in the last six seasons Saturday.

As for the girls team, senior Kendall Marshall is headed to state for Oak Ridge after earning all-district honors with a 24th-place finish at 24:12.99 in the girls race.

Moving on to Jackson in the Class 5 District 1 Meet held in Cedar Hill, the Indians had three runners from their girls team finish in the top 30 to bring home all-district medals and qualify for the state meet. First was junior Annika Barks as she placed fifth overall by crossing the finish line at the 18:55.7-mark.

Jackson’s girls team’s next runner didn’t come in till 20 spots later as it was freshman Lynlee LaValle punching her ticket to state for the first time by taking 25th place with a time of 19:38. Fellow Indians underclassman sophomore Emma Niedbalski finished .3 seconds behind LaValle at 19:38.3 for 26th place.

As for Jackson’s boys team, senior Bryce Gentry continued to leave his mark on the program by breaking his own personal record time of 15:27.8 to take second place and qualify for state. Gentry became the team’s record holder in the 5K after winning the SEMO Conference Meet for the second and final time in his career.

Also making it to state with Gentry for Jackson’s boys team is fellow senior Jack Hutson, who took 21st overall at 16:30.9.

Saxony Lutheran will have two runners compete in the Class 2 State Meet on Saturday in juniors Myra Roth and Faith Dreyer. Roth, who was a state qualifier last fall, took 13th place at districts by posting a time of 22:07.1, while Dreyer took 25th (23:01.29).

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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