It was business as usual for the Sparta Boys Cross Country team and their pack running in the Class 1, District 5 meet on Saturday as the Trojans cruised to a District title.
“The pack is what has gotten us through the entire season. This is the seventh first place win that they have had,” Sparta head coach Monica Wallace said.
Sparta finished with five runners in the top seven.
All season long the Trojans have been rolling and things are just automatic for the team right now.
“Our strategy is always the same. They are to the point now I don’t have to do much in getting them mentally ready because the seniors I have are so strong. They make that happen,” Wallace said.
Sparta will need the pack to be strong in Jefferson City next Saturday if the Trojans want to win a state title.
“You look at some of the other top Class 1 teams right now, Linn (and) West Platte, they have one strong top runner, Linn has two. I always tell them that one runner is not going to win the race no matter how well they finish. It is where everyone else is at,” Wallace said. “That has been our focus through the entire season is the pack.”
The individual race was won by Crane’s Thomas Chabrecek, who should contend for a Class 1 Title next Saturday. Chabrecek finished in a time of 16:08, then came the Sparta quartet of Jake Loveland, Traven Eaton, Dakota Johnson and Tristan Eaton in second through fifth.
Crane was able to claim the second team qualifying spot.
The girls’ race had a familiar jersey out front, as Crane freshman Lexie Vaught took home gold for the first time in her high school career. Winning a district championship was her biggest motivator on Saturday.
“I haven’t been winning a lot lately, so I really just wanted to win,” said. “ I was getting tired of not winning.”
The win by Vaught is made even more impressive by the fact that this is her first season of running cross country.
“In track I do the mile and distance is more my thing, so my coach told me I should try cross country and I did,” said. “I thought I would be more to the middle of the pack and thought maybe next year I would (finish higher).”
Now Vaught has a district championship to her name heading into next week’s State Meet.
Wheaton and Lutie qualified as teams.
6. Jonathan Sherwood - Wheaton
9. Josh Woods - Fordland
13. Sydney Guardolia - Chadwick
15. Logan Petro - Chadwick
1. Lexie Vaught - Crane
2. Hailey Stevens - Chadwick
3. Haley Hurt - Spokane
5. Paige Davis - Fordland
6. Kameron Haake - Greenwood
7. Ashley Hutchinson - Sparta
10. Makayla Tipton - Sparta
11. Kaylee Baughman - Sparta