By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
GRANBY, Mo. – The East Newton cross country team won seven-straight Big 8 championships from 2004 to 2010.
Then Lamar won seven-straight conference titles of its own from 2011 to 2017.
But after Monday the Patriots have a new streak going as four East Newton boys earned all-conference honors and East Newton won the Big 8 championship on its home course, fending off – who else? – Lamar in the process.
“It’s the 12th time we’ve won which is the most that any school has won in Big 8 history,” East Newton coach Jake Holt said. “That was one of our goals. We kind of trained through this meet a little bit so I thought we looked a little flat. We’re looking forward to districts. We’re Class 2 this year so we should win our district. We’ve been ranked as high as first in the state in Class 2 by MoMileSplit and I think we’re ranked second right now but we haven’t run our best races yet.”
The Patriots, who finished with 52 points and bested Lamar by 17, were led by Kelton Sorrell’s fifth-place finish in 16:45.9. Jacob Bennion placed seventh, Gabriel Bergen was 10th, Garrett Downum 11th and Marcus Shaeffer 19th.
“I thought Kelton Sorrell had a pretty good race,” Holt said. “We raced here on the fifth and his time was pretty comparable to that time with all the mud and everything and it was a little warmer today than it was then. I think he had a pretty good race. Jacob Bennion, our senior, has been really consistent all four years he’s run on varsity. He had a good race, maybe he went out a little too hard and fell but the guy right ahead of him was an all-stater in Class 3 last year. Definitely a very quality group of kids in the front.”
Lamar placed two runners in the top three but they were the only Tigers to earn all-conference status.
Senior Kolin Overstreet won the meet for the second-straight year by finishing in 16:12.3, nearly 22 seconds better than Logan-Rogersville’s Jay Strausbaugh, who placed second. Overstreet won last year by 11 seconds and took second as a sophomore. His teammate Joe Kremp followed in third.
After East Newton and Lamar, nobody else was close in the team standings. Cassville was a distant third, trailing Lamar by 47 points.
Logan-Rogersville was led by Strausbaugh’s second-place finish and also Landon Hendrickson’s fourth-place finish.
Springfield Catholic was led by Jack Delvechio, who placed sixth. Mt. Vernon’s Tristan Gaddis was eighth, McDonald County’s Garrett Spears was ninth, Cassville’s Devon Brookes was 12th, Monett’s Julio Cruz Jr. was 16th, Nevada’s Ben Sudkamp was 20th, Marshfield’s Elijah Horne was 22nd, Hollister’s Jaxon Thomas was 23rd, Reeds Spring’s Evan Brandsma was 26th, Aurora’s Gavin Youngblood was 34th.
Ryan Watts knew his team had a shot at a Big 8 title and he was right as the Nevada girls placed three runners in the top 12 and held off McDonald County and Lamar to win it.
“We knew it was going to be down to Lamar, us and Mac County so we talked about that all week,” he said. “I was pretty nervous because I knew it was going to be close but when we found out we were pretty excited because we kind of knew all year we had a good shot.”
The Tigers finished with 76 points, beating McDonald County by 14 and Lamar by 22.
Nevada was led by Calli Beshore, who finished in 20:24.7 to earn third place individually.
“She’s tough,” Watts said. “She comes out here and you never doubt that she gives it everything she has. She runs flat out till she’s got nothing left. That’s all you can ask of a runner. It’s really always exciting to watch her run. I’ve seen it a lot but I never get tired of it.”
Allie Rains finished sixth and Avery Morris placed 12th for the Tigers. Ashley Mather was 27th and Brooklyn Kutina-Smith finished 37th.
“We knew everybody was going to have to run really well,” Watts said. “A couple of our girls who had finished further back the rest of the year really stepped up and grabbed some points so that helped out a lot. Obviously Calli leads the way for us. Our two freshmen girls, Allie Rains and Avery Morris have come a long way and made a really solid one through seven.”
McDonald County had just one all-conference runner but its top five finished within 13 spots of one another. Bailey Miller earned 14th for the Mustangs.
Lamar added another individual champion on the day with Kiersten Potter winning with a time of 19:50.8, nearly 16 seconds better than Aurora’s Kaci Singer, the second-place runner.
Singer and Aubrey Boatwright (fourth) led Aurora, but the Houn Dawgs didn’t run a full team to qualify in the team standings.
Springfield Catholic was led by Anna Burson in fifth place, Hollister was led by Kylee Winkert in seventh, Marshfield was led by Reagan Smith in 10th, Cassville was led by Annie Moore in 11th, Monett was led by Sadie Camp in 13th, Logan-Rogersville was led by Anna Snodderly in 18th and East Newton was led by Kylie Voorhies in 29th.
Big 8 Conference Boys Standings
East Newton (52)
McDonald County (128)
Mt. Vernon (164)
Springfield Catholic (173)
Reeds Spring (196)
Big 8 All-Conference Boys Team
Kolin Overstreet – 1st (Lamar)
Jay Strausbaugh – 2nd (Logan-Rogersville)
Joe Kremp – 3rd (Lamar)
Landon Hendrickson – 4th (Logan-Rogersville)
Kelton Sorrell – 5th (East Newton)
Jack Delvechio – 6th (Springfield Catholic)
Jacob Bennion – 7th (East Newton)
Tristan Gaddis – 8th (Mt. Vernon)
Garrett Spears – 9th (McDonald County)
Gabriel Bergen – 10th (East Newton)
Garrett Downum – 11th (East Newton)
Devon Brookes – 12th (Cassville)
Anthony Mancuso – 13th (Springfield Catholic)
David Lazalde – 14th (McDonald County)
Pace Evans – 15th (Cassville)
Big 8 Conference Girls Standings
McDonald County (90)
East Newton (157)
Springfield Catholic (185)
Big 8 All-Conference Girls Team
Kiersten Potter – 1st (Lamar)
Kaci Singer – 2nd (Aurora)
Calli Beshore – 3rd (Nevada)
Aubrey Boatwright – 4th (Aurora)
Anna Burson – 5th (Springfield Catholic)
Allie Rains – 6th (Nevada)
Kylee Winkert – 7th (Hollister)
Patience Pinson – 8th (Hollister)
Kara Morey – 9th (Lamar)
Reagan Smith – 10th (Marshfield)
Annie Moore – 11th (Cassville)
Avery Morris – 12th (Nevada)
Sadie Camp – 13th (Monett)
Bailey Miller – 14th (McDonald County)
Jolie Evans – 15th (Cassville)