By Chris Parker
There are many talented cross country runners across our coverage area. Below are some of the top cross country runners to watch this season
This watchlist can be found in print in the Fall O-Zone Preview Magazine available this week at all southwest Missouri Casey’s general stores.
Avery Arnold, Blue Eye, Sophomore
Arnold finished state runner-up in Class 1 to her twin sister Riley last fall. She completed the course in a time of 20:17.74. On the track, Arnold brought home four all-state finishes with a fourth-place finish in the 1600 (5:28.21), fifth-place finish in the 800 (2:26.78) while running legs on Blue Eye’s state champion 3200-meter relay and third-place finishing 1600-meter relay.
Riley Arnold, Blue Eye, Sophomore
Arnold is the reigning Class 1 State Champion after she ran a time of 20:07.99 last year to win the individual championship. The Lady Bulldogs finished runner-up in the team competition with 73 points. On the track, Arnold was the state runner-up in the 1600 (5:25.69) and fourth in the 3200-meter run (12:06.44) while running a leg on the state champion 3200-meter relay.
Alicen Ashley, Nixa, Sophomore
Ashley found immediate success as a freshman finishing fourth at the COC XC Championships, fifth at the Class 4 District 5 XC meet, 12th at the Class 4 Sectional 3 meet before completing her season with a 43rd-place finish at the Class 4 State Meet in a time of 20:23.52. Ashley broke out on the track running the area’s No. 1 3200-meter run in the spring with a season-best of 11:30.11.
Peter Bowling, Bolivar, Senior
Bowling brought home a Top-10 finish from the Class 3 State Cross Country meet last year where he finished ninth in a time of 16:54.41. The Bolivar senior also finished third at the Class 3 District 6 Cross Country meet where he ran a time of 16:18.85. At the beginning of the year, Bowling posted an eighth-place finish out of 271 runners at the SWCCA Invitational.
Brady Bauder, Kickapoo, Senior
Bauder is a two-time all-state finisher in the state’s toughest class. Last year, Bauder improved from 21st as a sophomore to 10th last year when he ran a time of 16:31.16. He was the Class 4 District 5 individual champion with a time of 16:08.58, while he finished third at the Class 4 Sectional 3 meet in a time of 16:06.60. On the track in the spring, Bauder posted the area’s No. 5 performance in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:41.13.
Mia Harris, West Plains, Senior
Harris is the area’s fastest returning female cross country runner after finishing 24th at the Class 4 State Cross Country meet in a time of 19:47.68 last year. She finished fourth at the Class 4 District 5 XC meet while taking fifth at the Class 4 Sectional 3 XC meet. On the track, Harris posted the area’s No. 3 3200-meter time (11:32.23) and No. 10 1600-meter time (5:25.56).
Kolin Overstreet, Lamar, Senior
Overstreet was the only non-senior to win a state championship last year, as he ran a time of 16:34.70 to take the Class 2 State Championship. It capped off a strong postseason run that saw Overstreet win both the Big 8 and Class 2 District 6 individual championships. He continued his strong junior year on the track with the top four area times in the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter runs.
Jay Strausbaugh, Rogersville, Senior
Strausbaugh is one of the area’s top athletes who has two wrestling state championships on his résumé. On the cross country course, Strausbaugh finished runner-up at the Big 8 XC meet and the Class 3 District 6 XC meet. He capped off his junior cross country season with an eighth-place finish at the Class 3 State Cross Country meet with a time of 16:52.38. On the track, Strausbaugh earned all-state finishes in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Daelen Ackley, El Dorado Springs, Sophomore
Calli Beshore, Nevada, Senior
Micah Bruggeman, Joplin, Junior
Landon Hendrickson, Rogersville, Junior
Alanza Montez, Carl Junction, Sophomore
Emma Puetz, Rolla, Senior
Haddon Spikereit, Webb City, Senior
Cora Stimpson, Bolivar, Junior