West Plains brought their ‘A’ team as well as every kid that could run, it seemed, when they took 10 places out of the top 11 at Mtn. Grove on Thursday, Oct. 11.
Jasper Bunton from Mtn. View-Liberty was the only runner not in the infamous candy striper shorts from West Plains in the top 11 finishers. Jasper hung with the powerhouse Zizzers to take 5th place.
Medals were given to the top 20. There were 70 runners from 11 schools in attendance for the boys’ varsity race.
Luke Shortt took the Ava Bears’ lead a little after the 2-mile mark and with Dakota Renner’s encouragement, placed 12th with a time of 17:24. Luke beat his time on the same course last year by 1 minute 13 seconds.
Renner finished in 14th with a time of 17:46, and was 14 seconds faster than last year. Flying in to the finish with a new career personal record and taking the last medal in the 20th place was Ava’s Jordan Dimirsky, who improved his time by an unbelievable 2 minutes and 34 seconds.
Close behind and in the 21st place was Caleb Stillings who also set a new career PR by 20 seconds finishing in 18:08. James ‘the beast’ Ferguson was 22nd and upped his time by 55 seconds over last year with a finish of 18:09.
Justin Young also got a new career PR with a time of 19:17. Phillip Eubanks improved his time from last year by 21 seconds with a time of 20:04.
The Ava Bears placed 3rd as a team, just barely losing to Liberty by 4 points. West Plains took first with an almost perfect sweep of 16 points, Liberty had 67 points and the Bears finished with 71 points.
“This makes us even more determined to face and defeat Liberty at Districts in two weeks,” said Coach Liz Kyger who felt her Bears’ team is really coming together and helping each other in the meets, as displayed by Renner prompting Shortt at the 2-mile mark, and Jordan, Caleb and James pushing each other through the whole race.
“Its that kind of support from your teammates that can make all the difference in the outcome of some crucial races, such as districts,” Kyger said. “Our varsity boys, as well as the whole cross country team, really support each other and genuinely like each other.”
In the varsity girls’ race, Christina Shortt dropped her time by 2 minutes and 20 seconds faster than last year to place 9th overall in 21:21 a new career PR for her also. A total of 32 girls competed in the varsity race.