It was a good day to be a Springfield Catholic Cross Country runner on Saturday at the Class 2, District 5 meet.
Catholic swept the team titles and Kelly Devlin brought home the girls’ individual title.
The wins for the girls’ team were business as usual for the Irish as both the team and Devlin were heavily favored coming into the meet.
“They went out and did what they needed to do. They got the job done,” Catholic girls head coach Nick Russo said.
Catholic got it done to the tune of putting all five of its scoring runners in the top 10 and all seven of its runners in the top 13.
The team win is a nice boost heading into next Saturday’s State Meet in Jefferson City.
“(The win) certainly does something for our confidence because the more you win the more accustomed you become to winning,” Russo said.
Devlin executed a technically sound race to pick up Catholic’s third individual District title in a time of 19:30.
“Kelly is an intelligent enough kid that she will get a read on what is going on in the race,” Russo said. “I think the gal from Seneca and from East Newton contended and pushed her through the first mile, which seems to have been the way things have gone through the year. She has some company through mile one and then she recognizes when she needs to go.”
Devlin distanced herself from Seneca’s Meghan Hatfield and East Newton’s Emily Sorrell in the second half of the race. Hatfield was second in a time of 19:48. Sorrell came across in third at 20:13. Clever’s Kelli McNabb and College Heights’ Kolleen Gladden rounded out the top five.
Now Catholic’s girls have their eyes on a bigger prize in Jefferson City at State.
“They know what they need to do next week. Our goal has been to defend our district championship, get back to state and again be a top four team. I wouldn’t go if I didn’t believe that we could do that,” Russo said. “They will go up there recognizing they are the (defending) state runner-up, they have been on that trophy stand three years in a row, and they will do everything it takes to get back there.”
See the complete list of qualifiers below.
The boys put four in the Top 10 to claim their first District Cross Country title in four years.
“We ran well. We have a lot of young kids that have stepped up and wanted this. They worked hard to get it and today they went out as a team and made it happen,” Catholic boys coach Tom Gray said. “They rose to the occasion.”
The Catholic boys were favored in the race like the girls, but that did not change the way Gray wanted this race contested by his team.
“I told them they have to run this race like they have run every other race of the season. I told them if try to make adjustments and do something different it is just going to take us out of what we do,” Gray said.
College Heights’ Ryan Beaver won the race in a time of 16:37. The Catholic duo of Neal Ukena and Jacob Eck were next in second and third in times of 17:04 and 17:10. Sarcoxie’s Justin Myers and Seneca’s Shane Murphy rounded out the top five.
Hollister claimed the second team spot out of the District with a strong pack of runners from 13th to 20th place.
2. East Newton
2. Meghan Hatfield - Seneca
4. Kelli McNabb - Clever
5. Kolleen Gladden - College Heights
9. Cady Littlefield - Diamond
12. Lori Trone - Seneca
15. Allison Strawn - College Heights
1. Ryan Beaver - College Heights
4. Justin Myers - Sarcoxie
5. Shane Murphy - Seneca
8. Janzen White - Diamond
9. Blake Miles - Clever
11. Wyatt Newman - Blue Eye
12. Owen Bennion - East Newton