By Chris Parker
There are many talented boys cross country runners across our coverage area. Below are some of the boys cross country runners a to watch this season.
NOTE: The athletes are listed in alphabetical order.
Aaron Ashley, Nixa
Ashley had a strong sophomore season earning second-team all-region honors after he finished 46th place in Class 5 with a time of 16:33. At the SWCCCA meet to open last season, Ashley finished third in the Class 5 race with a 16:10 making him the first non-senior across the line for Class 5. He placed seventh at the COC meet.
Tristen Bough, Branson
Bough returns as Branson’s top runner in his senior season. As a junior, Bough ran 16:27 to finish 37th at the Class 5 state meet. He was named second-team all-region.
Rydan Deckard, Alton
Deckard is the area’s top returning Class 2 runner coming off a seventh-place finish in Class 2 with a time of 17:06. He was named first-team all-region.
Landon Duchscherer, Morrisville
Duchscherer is a state championship contender coming off a fifth place finish (17:11) last season. He finished runner-up to returning Class 1 state XC champion Riley Blay from Nodaway-Holt in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs at the Class 1 state track meet this spring.
Grey Edwards, Joplin
Edwards came in under 17 minutes at the Class 5 state meet last season running 16:49 to finish 64th overall. He was named second-team all-region by the SWCCCA.
Mason Hedger, Webb City
Hedger earned first-team all-region honors from the SWCCCA after he ran 16:45 at the Class 4 state meet. His time was good for 20th overall.
Ian Horton, Joplin
Horton was the area’s top finisher at the Class 5 state meet last season running a 15:59 for 16th place. He was the only returning area runner to go under 16 minutes at the state course. He ran 15:56 at the COC Championships to help Joplin to a runner-up finish. The SWCCCA named him first-team all-region in Class 5.
Carson King, West Plains
King just missed out on all-state honors last season as a sophomore placing 31st in Class 4 with a time of 16:57. He earned second-team all-region honors.
Bennett Mantooth, Hermitage
Hermitage has won two straight team state titles and Mantooth has been a key piece of both teams. Last season he finished third overall with a time of 17:03. He brings athleticism to the cross country course as evidenced by his all-state finish in the 300-meter hurdles on the track.
Cameron Martensen, Rolla
Martensen established himself as the state’s fastest freshman runner at the Class 4 state meet last season running 16:01 to place seventh place. That was 25 seconds clear of the second-fastest freshman in any class. He earned first-team all-region honors.
Reyes Martinez, Nixa
Nixa has a strong returning group and Martinez has as much potential as anybody. It isn’t often freshmen are able to make an impact at the Class 5 level, but Martinez found a way running a 16:54 at the Class 5 state meet to place 68th. That made him the fifth-fastest freshman in Class 5.
Cade Nold, Dora
Nold ran a 17:12 to finish seventh at the Class 1 state meet last season, but there may not be a more purely fast cross country runner in the area. Nold swept the 400 and 800-meter titles at the Class 1 state meet running 49.63 in the 400 and 1:57.53 in the 800. He is only a junior this season. Payson Reisner, Bolivar
Reisner earned all-state honors in Class 4 last season with a 21st place finish in a time of 16:46. He was seventh at the district tournament. The SWCCCA named him first-team all-region in Class 4.
Mason Shank, Nixa
Shank finished 93rd place (17:16) at the Class 5 state meet, but that was far from his potential. He was the COC runner-up to Joplin’s Hobbs Campbell with a time of 15:37. At the SWCCCA meet to open last season, Shank finished ninth in the Class 5 competition with a time of 16:30.
Carson Smith, Willow Springs
Smith was the SCA champion last season. He also earned all-state honors in Class 3 with a 16th place finish in a time of 16:58.
Evan Stevens, Webb City
Stevens is on the short list for state title contenders this year coming off an 11th place finish at the Class 4 state meet a year ago where he ran 16:24. The SWCCCA named him their athlete of the year in Class 4. On the track, Stevens had a strong spring winning the Class 4 3200-meter run in a time of 9:18.66.
Hoyt Stiner, West Plains
Stiner will look to contend for all-state status entering his junior season. He finished 32nd (16:59) in Class 4 last season earning first-team all-region honors from the SWCCCA.
Chase Sorrell, East Newton
Sorrell was the Big 8 champion and Class 3 District 2 runner-up last season. At state, Sorrell finished third in a time of 16:12. He was named Class 3 Region Co-Athlete of the Year. On the track, he showed off his speed and endurance by winning the 800 in a time of 1:53.60 while finishing second in the 1600 and third in the 3200.
Chance Tindall, Joplin
Tindall earned first-team all-region honors from the SWCCCA thanks to a postseason series that saw him finish fifth at the COC meet in a time of 15:56, 10th at the district meet in 16:06 and 32nd at the Class 5 state meet in 16:24.