By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Since 1976, the state cross country championships have been held in in Jefferson City. The Oak Hill course, home to legendary firehouse hill, has become a source of heroics, nostalgia and — depending on your perspective — nightmares.
While the meet is set to move north to Columbia in 2019, 1,346 high school runners in four classes took one final stab at history on Saturday.
In the Class 2 boys race, Lamar’s Kolin Overstreet entered the weekend with a pretty simple plan.
“My strategy was to stay with the front pack for as long as possible until the last 800 (meters) and then pass them, because I know I have the fastest kick here,” Overstreet said.
Turns out the plan was pretty sound, as the Tiger senior opened up a 15-second gap on Maplewood-Richmond Heights senior Malik Stewart in the last quarter-mile to win the individual title in 16:34.70.
Overstreet credited his victory to a ramped-up training schedule geared specifically for the state course. After a fifth-place finish last season, the Tiger junior’s team increased its hill training.
“Lamar is pretty flat, so I knew I needed to get some hills in,” Overstreet said. “We did a lot of hills this year — a lot more than usual. I was so relieved. This whole season has paid off.”
Other area all-state finishers include El Dorado Springs freshman Daelen Ackley (4th – 17:08.66), Stockton senior Bryson Coulter (6th – 17:26:57), Stockton senior Tyler Adams (11th – 17:47.10), Licking senior Keegan Black (15th – 17:51.39), Spokane sophomore Sam Shuman (22nd – 17:59.25) and Lamar sophomore Joe Kremp (25th – 18:01.99).
Fatima won the overall team title with 66 points, with Stockton finishing in second with 102.
In the girls race, Fatima junior Kendall Haller won with a time of 20:21.98, posting a comfortable, 19-second margin over Bowling Green senior Kate Klott.
The area’s all-state finishers include Warsaw freshman Alyssa Alcantara (10th – 21:15.40), El Dorado Springs freshman Kenli Rader (14th – 21:24.98), The Summit Prep junior Olivia Lynch (17th – 21:36.60) and College Heights sophomore Grace Bishop (21:39.33).
Fatima won the girls overall title, as well, with a total of 53 points. Lamar posted the area’s top finish with an 8th-place mark and 231 points.