Parkview’s head coach Dan Hay had a simple message for his runners on a day that was less than ideal for distance running.
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“We did two things in our huddle. We said you are not going to get a PR (personal record) today, so that takes some pressure off. And you are not going to see most of these teams again, so go out there and realize one of the reasons you run is because you love it. So go out there and love the run,” Hay said
Parkview junior Cameron Byrley followed up his big win in St. Louis last week with another victory just three days later in Monett. Byrley got out front in the race early, but Nixa’s Devon Colegrove chased him down and took control for the last portion of the race.
That is until Byrley chased him down in a sprint for the finish to win by just a second in 17:41 for the 3.1-mile race.
“The entire race him and I had been battling and battling. Finally I was tired of being in second place, so I just took off,” Byrley said of his dash for the finish.
Byrley’s stellar kick is something of a new development according to Hay.
“This year he has shown some strength at the end, but traditionally his kick has not been so good. That is the first time I have actually seen him win a race with a kick,” Hay said.
The loss late for Colegrove offers a chance for a learning experience.
“It was a good race for him. I think he learned a lot and if he wants to beat that kid (Byrley) it is going to take more effort,” Nixa head coach Lance Brumley said.
McDonald County’s Caleb Littlefield was third in a time of 18:03 just ahead of Parkview’s A.J. Barnes and his 18:05 for fourth. Nixa’s Trevor Edick rounded out the top five in a time of 18:22.
The Eagles cruised to a team title as Nixa posted 30 points. Parkview was second at 54 points. McDonald County finished a distant third with 111 points.
On the girls’ side, Parkview’s Sayra Villela made it a sweep as the senior won her first ever race in a time of 21:39.
“She (Villela) exceeded my expectations,” Hay said. “She has placed well, but this is the first race that she has won. This is a big deal for her. She got emotional coming over the (finish).”
Villela echoed the sentiment.
“I almost cried when I finished I was so excited,” Villela said.
Villela not only won, but dominated the race. Her winning time was 45 seconds better than second-place JeLynn Tatum’s finish time of 22:20.
It was a matter of Villela getting out and executing her strategy.
“My strategy is always to pass people on the hills. That is your advantage, not your disadvantage,” Villela said. “Once I started passing people, I thought I am already in first and I can’t let them beat me because tend to draw back and I always lose by one. It was not going to happen this time.”
Nixa’s Elle Moon was third in a time of 22:25. McDonald County’s Faith Owens finished fourth in a time of 22:28. The Nixa duo of Peyton Zwingle and Jordyn Hoskins were just behind her at 22:44 and 22:45, respectively.
Nixa dominated the team competition on the girls side as well with 31 points to second-place McDonald County’s 74 points. Rogers (Ark.) was third with 77 points.
Nixa’s team title sweep was a nice prize for a meet that was about much more than just Tuesday.
“This is not the end of our season. We want to be in the right kind of spot in October. It is going to take some hard races now to get where we want to be in October,” Brumley said. “We came here mainly just to see a course like this and run these hills and the challenge in the heat and that was accomplished.”
Byrley summed up the rough conditions best.
“You definitely had to have a lot of guts to run this (course) today because of the heat and hills,” said. “Whoever ran this (course) today definitely beat everybody that was on the couch.”