Springfield Catholic’s Stephen Kielhofner and Strafford’s Shane Burns finished 1-2 in Saturday’s season-opening Fellows Lake 5000, duplicating their result from last season’s state cross country final.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM THE BOYS RACE
Just as it did in Jefferson City, Kielhofner’s torrid pace over the last mile allowed him to pull away from the field and take the win in 15:59.
While the Springfield Catholic junior won’t be able to defend his Class 2 title this season, (Catholic has moved up to Class 3), he certainly put the new field on notice. Kielhofner missed a PR by only a second.
Were it not for an awkward stumble heading into the home stretch, that mark might have fallen, as well.
“It was an OK finish,” Kielhofner said. “I definitely stepped in a pothole, and that slowed me down. It was, you know … same-old, same-old.
Try and stick with it the first two miles and then really try and kick it at the end.”
Burns (second place – 16:20) led a group of three runners to finish under 17 minutes, including Liberty’s Jackson Connor (third place – 16:38) and Humansville’s Dustin Shoemaker (fourth place – 16:44). Rogersville’s Matt McHenry finished in fifth place (17:13).
In the team competition, Ava nipped Catholic by a single point to take the overall title.
Ava head coach Liz Kyger attributes the win to a change in focus within her team of runners.
“We are using a new strategy this year,” Kyger said. “We’ve got kids very similar in training and ability instead of having just one, so we’re kind of packing everything together. We did get moved up to Class 3 this year, so that’s a little bit rougher for us. We got moved into the district with Springfield Catholic, and we know what kind of challenge that is.”
While the girls’ finish was a closer result, it featured a kick just as dominant from Liberal’s Alexys Barton.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM THE GIRLS RACE
In a mild surprise, Barton (19:51) pulled away from Rogersville’s Amy Vedder (20:06) for the victory and a brand new PR.
Liberal’s cross country program is in only its second year of existence; however, Barton is no stranger to success.
Were it not for Summit Prep’s Claire Workman and the McCune sisters (Katie and Claire), Barton would likely be defending state titles in not only cross country, but the 800, 1600 and 3200, as well.
What’s more, the four-sport senior has another fall activity to fit training schedules around.
In addition to its cross country anchor, Barton is Liberal volleyball’s outside hitter.
Trying to work late-night volleyball games in with early-morning cross country workouts and homework is a daunting challenge, but one Barton doesn’t face alone. Support from both teams helps keep everything in balance.
“The team helps a lot,” Barton said. “When I don’t want to get up, they’re always there counting on me. We just all pull together and help get each other out of bed.
Catholic finished first in the team competition, placing five runners in the top 16.
Lady Irish coach Tom Gray was pleased with his team’s consistency throughout the roster.
“I think we saw some good racing out of our girls,” Gray said. “We were very consistent, and I think Anna Galligos is going to be a strong leader for us, and Andrea Gray also had a good race. We’re in the stage of development where our gap between the first and fifth runner was a lot better today. That was a real positive thing for our girls.”
Boys Varsity Results – Team
2. Springfield Catholic
6. Fair Grove
Boys Varsity Results – Individual
1. 15:59 Stephen Kielhofner Springfield Catholic
2. 16:20 Shane Burns Strafford
3. 16:38 Jackson Conner Liberty
4. 16:44 Dustin Shoemaker Humansville
5. 17:13 Matt McHenry Rogersville
6. 17:36 Jacob Davis Strafford
7. 17:42 Jay Strausbaugh Rogersville
8. 17:47 Wes Pendleton Springfield Catholic
9. 17:55 Matt Christopher Clever
10. 17:57 Logan Holliman Fair Grove
11. 18:02 Joe Sicilia Ava
12. 18:08 Greg Kelly Springfield Catholic
13. 18:13 Dylan Funcannon Crane
14. 18:15 Evan Smith Chadwick
15. 18:18 Kenny Briscoe Willow Springs
16. 18:22 Collin Jenkins Ava
17. 18:22 Mason Cockrum Alton
18. 18:27 Luke Wegenka Springfield Catholic
19. 18:28 Tristan Shorter Ava
20. 18:32 Ryan Odom Fair Grove
Girls Varsity Results – Team
1. Springfield Catholic
4. Reeds Spring
9. Fair Grove
10. Fair Play
Girls Varsity Results – Individual
1. 19:51 Alexys Barton Liberal
2. 20:06 Amy Vedder Rogersville
3. 20:55 Anna Galligos Springfield Catholic
4. 21:10 Rachel Bagg Reeds Spring
5. 21:14 Amanda Mantel MV-BT/Liberty
6. 21:43 Faith Stark Rogersville
7. 21:49 Hope Strausbaugh Rogersville
8. 22:02 Baylee Sisco Alton
9. 22:10 Andrea Gray Springfield Catholic
10. 22:28 Cate Maynard Springfield Catholic
11. 22:33 Anna Burson Springfield Catholic
12. 22:40 Claire Hornibrook Reeds Spring
13. 22:42 Kaylee Foster Fair Play
14. 22:45 Lauren Sisco Alton
15. 22:54 Madalynn Ward Strafford
16. 22:58 Morgan Ellis Springfield Catholic
17. 22:59 Brooke Hoeft Clever
18. 22:59 Emily Stillings Ava
19. 23:08 Bryn Fischer Sarcoxie
20. 23:09 Eden Little Ava