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Cross Country

Oak Ridge and Jackson boys cross country take home state plaques

The Oak Ridge boys cross country team pose with the Class 1 Third Place plaque following Saturday’s state meet held in Columbia. Submitted photo

Last week, the Oak Ridge and Jackson boys cross country teams took home hardware in their respective state championship races. The Blue Jays placed third overall in Class 1, while the Indians took fourth in Class 5.

Oak Ridge finished with 95 points as three of its runners placed in the top 30 with one earning all-state honors with a 15th-place finish. That runner was Blue Jays junior Brock Hobeck, who crossed the finish line at 17 minutes, 46.6 seconds to bring home an all-state medal.

Also placing in the top 30 for Oak Ridge but coming just shy of earning all-state was junior Ty Wilson and sophomore Grant Meyer, who placed 26th and 27th overall with times of 18:14.5 and 18:16.4, respectively.

The final two of the top-five scorers for the Blue Jays junior Karson Ward and sophomore Cohen Hahs took 42nd and 43rd overall. Ward ran a 18:48.4, while Hahs paced him at 18:49.

Jackson scored 154 points in Class 5 and only had one runner place in the top 25 to earn all-state as junior Bryce Gentry took 17th place with a time of 16:00.2.

The Indians had three more runners finish in the top 50 in seniors Hunter Wendel (30th at 16:23.9), Cole Puls (44th; 16:32.1) and Cade McCadams (45th; 16:32.8). Fellow senior Evan Kiefer was the final top-five scorer for Jackson as he took 54th place at 16:40.6.

The two other area teams to qualify for state were the Oak Ridge girls and Notre Dame boys. The Blue Jays recorded their highest finish in program history by taking seventh overall in Class 1, while the Bulldogs placed 12th in Class 3.

Four Oak Ridge runners placed in the top 80, which were junior Kendall Marshall (64th at 23:48.8), sophomore Hailey Ward (71st; 23:56.6), junior Abby Volz (73rd; 24:01.9) and freshman Colbi Mool (78th; 24:11.4). The last Blue Jay to count towards their team score senior Erin Urhahn took 122nd at 25:37.2.

Despite finishing outside of the top 10, Notre Dame’s boys team still had an all-state finisher in senior Mason Morris, who took 19th place with a time of 17:01.2.

Outside of Morris’ top-25 finish to earn all-state, the Bulldogs didn’t have their next runner cross the finish line until sophomore Caleb Klipfel took 80th at 18:06.9. Fellow Notre Dame sophomore Michael Givens finished eight spots behind Klipfel with a time of 18:13.6 to take 88th overall.

Bulldog senior Thomas Dittmer also placed in the top 100 with a 91st-place finish at 18:15.5, while junior Josh Schnurbusch finished 101st overall with a 18:25.6.

Placing the highest in the area individual was none other than Notre Dame junior Lauren Eftink as she took 11th place in the Class 4 race to become a two-time all-state medalist. Eftink, who won a total of six races this fall, crossed the finish line at 19:26.6 to cap her junior year.

The only other Bulldog to qualify for the Class 4 State Meet was senior Molly Turner as she finished in the top 70 at 66th place by crossing the finish line at 21:17.3.

There were three other individual state qualifiers out of the Cash-Book Journal’s coverage age, which were Jackson girls runners senior London Popp and freshman Emma Niedbalski, and Saxony Lutheran sophomore Myra Roth.

Roth placed the highest out of the three while running in the Class 2 race, where she took 63rd overall with a time of 22:35.2. In the Class 5 race, Niedbalski finished the highest for the Indians by taking 89th place at 20:43 as Popp came in at 118th with a 21:08.7 in her final meet.

Here are the remaining runners who competed at state but placed outside of the top five on their team: Oak Ridge’s freshman Jayden McAlister and junior Job Sachse, Jackson junior Zach Brazel and senior Kyle Craigmiles, Oak Ridge sophomore Addison Urhahn, and Notre Dame juniors Jake Coalter and Ben Schnurbusch.

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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