Maries County foursome qualifies for state cross country

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 11/3/21

LINN — Nearly two weeks removed from a solid showing in the Gasconade Valley Conference (GVC) Cross Country meet in Steelville, runners from Belle and Vienna looked to carry that momentum in …

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Maries County foursome qualifies for state cross country

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LINN — Nearly two weeks removed from a solid showing in the Gasconade Valley Conference (GVC) Cross Country meet in Steelville, runners from Belle and Vienna looked to carry that momentum in Saturday’s Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 1 and 2, District 3 meets at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Linn.

Racing first were the Class 2 boys and the Belle Tiger duo of senior Corey McDaniel and sophomore Baylar Smith.

Both harriers were able to position themselves to stay in the top 30 throughout the majority of the race.

Smith crossed the finish line in a 16th-place time of 18:42.6. McDaniel finished 20 seconds later than his Tiger teammate in a 27th-place time of 19:02.0.

“I’m proud of both of my boys and how they raced today,” First-year BHS head cross country coach Samantha Eads said.

McDaniel and Smith will compete in the Class 2 Boys race at state late Saturday morning at 11:15 a.m.

Next on the course at Linn were the Class 2 girls.

Belle’s Tajel McDaniel was the lone Lady Tiger on the course.

Normally Natalie Gehlert would be racing with her but she was sick the morning of the meet.

That didn’t stop McDaniel from finishing 41st in a time of 25:17.8 which was good for a personal record (PR) by nearly a minute.

“Tajel ran an awesome race today getting a PR by almost a minute,” Eads said.

Last on the course Saturday afternoon in Osage County were the Class 1 boys and girls.

David Martin’s Vienna Eagles were first to take on the district course in Linn.

Hoping for a top-four team finish, Vienna settled ninth place led by a pair of state qualifiers.

Claiming All-GVC honors over two weeks ago, Eagle sophomore Duncan Wilkinson added an All-District medal to his haul placing 11th in a time of 18:54.2

Joining Wilkinson Saturday in Columbia will be freshman Cooper Auten who placed 14th in a time of 19:21.4.

“Duncan and Cooper both ran excellent races to get themselves to state,” Martin said.

Other Eagles on the district course included Jackson Kilmer (74th, 23;03.9), Kamden George (83rd, 24:48.5) and Danniel Casey (85th, 25:20.8).

Competing in the last of six races Saturday were the Class 1 girls.

Vienna’s Lady Eagles ran their best race before seeing their season end in the district meet.

On a bright note, all six Lady Eagle harriers will be returning next fall.

They were led Saturday by Danielle Murphy’s 38th-place time of 27:50.5.

Other Lady Eagles helping them place seventh as a team included Alia Terwilliger (43rd, 28:24.4), Ava Kloeppel (53rd, 29:04.9), Madeleine Novak (63rd, 30:44.1), Andrea Novak (64th, 31:02.2) and Kiera Hollis (67th, 33:17.5).

“Our girls competed hard and ran the best races they could,” Martin said. “I’m happy that we will have all of our varsity runners returning next fall to give us an experienced team.”

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