Kickapoo boys, West Plains girls win at Ozark Conference XC meet

By Don Eskins (For

The Kickapoo boys cross country team edged West Plains 34-35 to grab this year’s Ozark Conference Cross Country championship held at Lake Springfield on Saturday.

“It’s fun to come here to compete in our conference tournament, especially when you think you’ve got a chance to win. There’s been a lot of years when we didn’t have much of a chance at winning but that’s all changed now,” said Kickapoo boys and girls head coach Jeremy Goddard.

“West Plains has dominated this meet in the past. They’re one of the best teams in mid-west Missouri, if not the entire state, so finishing ahead of them today feels great and it says a lot about our kids,” said Goddard. “They went out hard today, made a move on the tough part of the course and then were able to scramble and claw their way to a one point win.”

The Chiefs also won their conference title last year.

Leading the way for the Chiefs was senior Brady Bauder. Bauder crossed the finish line in 16:33.02. His effort earned him the meet’s top individual honors in the boys division.

“We’ve been coming out here for practice twice a week since the beginning of the season and we consider this place to be our home field,” said Bauder. “Our main goal all year has been to beat West Plains and to win the conference title in our house. Today we accomplished both of those goals and I’m really proud of everybody on our team.”

“Brady has been a mainstay on our team for quite some time,” said Goddard. “He won this race last year and went on to finish 10th at state. We look for him to improve on that this year.”

Taking home the 2019 girls title were the West Plains Lady Zizzers. The Zizzers posted a team low 29 to easily outdistance the rest of the field en route to picking up their eighth consecutive Ozark Conference championship. Finishing second were the Kickapoo Lady Chiefs who recorded a 52 for their days work.

Especially happy to pick up a win at this year’s conference meet was Alicia Gunter, head coach for the Zizzers.

“We wanted to win our conference championship, just as we have for the past seven years. It’s a big deal for us,” said Gunter. “We treat this meet as a very important race. It’s the first step for us in getting to state.”

Sophomore Kyia Wesbrod especially caught the eye of Gunter at Saturday’s conference meet.

“Kyia was an all-star today. She usually runs around our seventh spot but today she moved up to about three or four,” said the Zizzer coach. “She didn’t get there because others struggled she got there because she ran great and I want everybody to know that. I’m so proud of her, as I am of all our kids.”

Taking top individual honors in the girls division was Kickapoo freshman Klarie Brown. Brown, who won the Southwest Cross Country Coaches Association meet in Bolivar earlier this year, tuned in a time of 20:01.06.

“I decided that if I was going to win I needed to take the lead and stay out in front. And that’s what I did,” said Brown. “Winning today has given me a lot of confidence about our upcoming district meet. I think I can run well there and I hope to finish in the top five.”

“Klarie is a newcomer this year,” said Goddard. “Besides winning here and at the SWCCCA earlier this year she recently ran really well at a big meet in Arkansas where she finished 12th. She’s obviously become a big part of our program at Kickapoo.”

Girls Team Results
1. West Plains – 29
2. Kickapoo – 52
3. Waynesville – 115
4. Rolla – 139
5. Lebanon – 148
6. Parkview – 167
7. Glendale – 172
8. Central – 180
8. Camdenton – 180

All Conference- Girls
1. Klaire Brown – Kickapoo – 20:01.06
2. Emma Puetz – Rolla – 20:25.27
3. Mia Harris – West Plains – 20:26.57
4. Sally Cybulski – Kickapoo – 20:51.07
5. Rebecca Loya – Hillcrest – 21:03.36
6. Kaylee Lambe – West Plains – 21:04.79
7. Jorden Tollenaar – West Plains – 21:17.01
8. Brayden Kantola – West Plains – 21:19.46
9. Kyia Weisbrod – West Plains – 21:20.18
10. Tara Randol – Kickapoo – 21:22.93
11. Jayna Gunter – West Plains – 21:48.19
12. Izzy Frost – Rolla – 22:03.64
13. Jorday Kantola – West Plains – 22:13.97
14. Madelyn Newsom – Waynesville – 22:22.66

Boys Team Results
1. Kickapoo – 34
2. West Plains – 35
3. Glendale – 114
4. Waynesville – 117
5. Lebanon – 127
6. Central – 168
7. Camdenton – 180
8. Rolla – 201
9. Hillcrest – 277

All Conference- Boys
1. Brady Bauder – Kickapoo – 16:33.02
2. Bryan O’Barr – Waynesville – 16:55.09
3. Riley Simpson – West Plains – 17:08.86
4. Tyler Harris – Kickapoo – 17:18.47
5. Wesley Laughary – West Plains – 17:19.65
6. Zach Finley – West Plains – 17:43.02
7. Colby Soulier – Weat Plains – 17:47.24
8. Colby Garner – Kickapoo – 17:56.19
9. Hilton Newell – Glendale – 17:57.49
10. Brooklyn Creehan – Kickapoo – 18:03.22
11. Jake Creehan – Kickapoo – 18:08.67
12. Jake Thoenen – Camdenton – 18:13.42
13. Brooks Barker – Kickapoo – 18:29.84
14. JD Sydow – West Plains – 18:28.62