By Chris Parker
There are many talented girls cross country runners across our coverage area. Below are some of the girls cross country runners to watch this season.
NOTE: The athletes are listed in alphabetical order.
Kip Atteberry, Thomas Jefferson Senior
Atteberry had a strong junior cross country season finishing runner-up at the district meet and fourth at the Class 1 state meet. He kept that momentum up on the track with three individual all-state finishes. He was third in the 3200-meter run (10:14.44), fourth in the 1600-meter run (4:33.32) and seventh in the 800-meter run (2:04.93).
Tristen Bough, Branson Junior
Bough will be the leader for the Branson cross country team in his junior year coming off a 110th place finish at the Class 5 state meet where he ran a time of 16:56.10. He was Top 10 at the COC meet in ninth place with a time of 16:39.20. One of his best races came in the season-opening SWCCCA meet where he finished 12th overall with a time of 16:36.57.
Hobbs Campbell, Joplin Senior
Campbell is one of the state’s purely fastest cross country runners. On the track, Campbell was fifth in Class 5 in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.88. He was even better in the 1600 with a state runner-up finish in a time of 4:12.19. The Joplin senior is no slouch on the cross country course either. He was runner up in the COC and 14th at the Class 5 state meet with a time of 15:45.10.
Brooklyn Creehan, Kickapoo Senior
Creehan was consistent presence throughout the season for the state champion Chiefs. He started off his season with a seventh-place finish at the SWCCCA meet (16:25.77). In the post-season, Creehan took fifth at the Ozark Conference tournament, seventh at the Class 5 District 2 meet and ninth at the Class 5 state meet (15:38.70).
Jack Creehan, Kickapoo Senior
Creehan rounded out the scoring for the Class 5 state champion Kickapoo Chiefs at the Class 5 state meet finishing 53rd place with a time of 16:19.80. He was also Top 10 at the Ozark Conference meet with a time of 17:36.34.
Julio Cruz, Monett Senior
Cruz will be one of the top runners in the Big 8 coming off a fourth-place finish in the conference with a time of 17:12.24. He will push for an all-state spot this year after finishing 41st overall in a time of 16:41.60 in Class 4 last season.
Connor Goatley, El Dorado Springs Senior
Goatley is the reigning Ozark Highlands Conference champion. He earned all-state honors in Class 3 last year finishing 18th with a time of 16:49.10. On the track, Goatley was an all-state finisher in the 800 with a time of 2:00.66.
Colby Goddard, Kickapoo Senior
Goddard is an example of just how much depth the Chiefs have. He was their No. 6 runner at state with a time of 17:01.80, which was 117th in Class 5. Goddard’s time would’ve been good for a Top 60 finish in Class 4 and a Top 30 finish in Class 3. He took 11th at the Ozark Conference and 16th at the SWCCCA meet.
Nolan Hansen, Willard Senior
Willard had a banner year as a team last year with a state runner-up finish as a team. Hansen was the No. 2 runner on that team coming across the finish line in a time of 16:25.30, which was good for 33rd place overall. He will be the leader of the Tigers this year.
Tyler Harris, Kickapoo Senior
Kickapoo is the deepest team in the state and Tyler Harris is at the top of that group. He finished runner-up to Daelen Ackley at the SWCCCA meet with a time of 15:53.17 last year. In the post-season, Harris was the Ozark Conference champion and Class 5 District 2 champion. At state, Harris ran a time of 15:34.40 to finish eighth. In the spring, Harris earned all-state honors in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:14.96.
Ian Horton, Joplin Junior
Horton had a strong sophomore season from start to finish with Top 25 finishes at SWCCCA, COC and the district meet. At the Class 5 state meet, Horton finished 49th with a time of 16:18.70. Expect him to take another step forward this year as an upperclassman.
Kyle Keltner, Kickapoo Senior
Keltner came across the line third for Kickapoo at the Class 5 state meet last year in 13th place with a time of 15:43.90. He posted a Top 15 finish at the SWCCCA meet with a 14th place finish in a time of 16:47.51. He was third at the Ozark Conference meet and fifth at the Class 5 District 2 meet.
Devon Kemp, Nixa Junior
Kemp had a breakout race at the Class 5 state meet as a sophomore. He posted times in the 17:10 to 17:24 range at the SWCCCA, COC and district meets before throwing down a time of 16:39.50 at state to take 85th in Class 5. He is poised to make a big leap in his junior year.
Bennett Mantooth, Hermitage Junior
Mantooth is on the short list of area athletes who could win a state title in their respective class. Last year, Mantooth won the Class 1 District 3 title in a time of 17:37.70. He followed that up by dropping 63 seconds and running a time of 16:33.90 to finish third at the Class 1 state meet. He has the most interesting track and field resume of any returning runner. Mantooth finished 11th in the high jump at the Class 1 state meet and 12th in the 300-meter hurdles.
Grant Musick, Kickapoo Senior
Musick’s specialty is probably the 1600-meter run on the track where he finished ninth in Class 5 with a time of 4:22.04. On the cross country course, Musick was fifth at the SWCCCA meet (16:12.78), ninth at the Class 5 District 2 meet (16:50.34) and 15th at the Class 5 state meet (15:46.90).
Mason Shank, Nixa Junior
Shank had a strong finish to his sophomore year of cross country running a time of 16:56.40, which was good for a 111th place finish. He really came on late in the season after running 17:47.59 at SWCCCA and 17:57.20 at COC. He carried that momentum to the spring by qualifying for the Class 5 state meet in the 1600-meter run. He finished 15th with a time of 4:29.47 as one of just three underclassmen to qualify for the Class 5 state meet in the 1600-meter run.
Chase Sorrell, East Newton Junior
Sorrell is the next in a long line of standout East Newton runners. He will be a favorite to win the Big 8 individual title this year coming off a third-place finish as a sophomore. He was also third place at the Class 3 District 2 meet. At state, Sorrell finished 13th overall in Class 3 with a time of 16:36.00, which was the second-fastest time for any sophomore in the class. On the track, Sorrell earned all-state honors in the 1600 and 3200 while running a leg on East Newton’s state champion 3200-meter relay team.
Evan Stevens, Webb City Junior
Stevens is one of the top returning runners in the COC after he finished 12th overall as a sophomore with a time of 16:45. 40. He is the second-fastest returning runner and was the fastest underclassman in the COC just ahead of Joplin’s Chance Tindall. At state, Stevens finished 36th in Class 4 with a time of 16:32.70. He was the fifth sophomore across the line in Class 5 last year.
Chance Tindall, Joplin Sophomore
There were 159 runners who finished the Class 5 state cross country race last year. Just nine of those were freshmen. Of those nine, Tindall finished third running a time of 16:49.60, which was good for 105th overall. He has already proven he is one of the state’s best underclass runners and should find himself front-running in many races.
Sean Walker, Buffalo Senior
Walker was the Ozark Highlands Conference runner-up in his junior year. Walker steadily cut time throughout the postseason going from a time of 18:01.69 at the conference meet to a 17:09.53 finish at the district meet down to a 16:44.90 finish at the Class 3 state meet, which was good for a 15th place finish overall. On the track, Walker just missed out on all-state honors in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:44.78.