The Ava Bears took a decided victory at Fordland last Thursday, winning the 14-school meet by a margin of 23 points over the Springfield Catholic Irish who took 2nd.
Other schools in attendance were Marion C. Early, Strafford, Norwood, Mtn. Grove, School of the Ozarks, Hollister, Fordland, Gainesville, Chadwick, Seymour, Greenwood and Fair Grove.
Dakota Renner led the Bears with a 3rd place finish with a time of 18:36. Next for the Bears was Luke Shortt in 7th place with a time of 19:26. Jordan Dimirsky placed 11th in 19:37. Caleb Stillings had a time of 19:43 and came in 13th.
James Ferguson grabbed the last medal awarded to the Bears with a 14th place finish in 19:44.
Phillip Eubanks placed 30th with a time of 20:50 and Justin Young placed 41st in 21:20.
The Ava junior varsity boys who usually have a separate race stepped it up to the 5k distance and were entered in the varsity race.
Hayden Schuster finished with a time of 22:03, Sage Clunn ran a 25:07, John Vineyard finished in 25:48. There were 112 runners in the boys’ varsity race.
This was a new experience for the Bears as the team picked up the Fordland meet for the first time to replace the SCA conference meet usually held the same week. Not enough schools in the SCA had full teams to warrant a conference meet being held this year.
“It’s a real shame that we would have several of our runners earn all conference awards this year and yet are not able to compete due to a lack of interest in cross country at the other SCA schools,” said Coach Liz Kyger. She added, “It robs our kids of the opportunity to excel and be recognized for it on the conference level.”
In the girls’ race, Christina Shortt finished in 5th place with a time of 22:56. Cheyenne Lambert who also usually runs JV competed in the varsity girls’ race and had a time of 27:43. There were 57 girls in the varsity race.
In the junior high races, Jacob Luebbering continues to perform very well with a 4th place finish out of 40 runners, in 11:38. Aubrey Schuster finished in 6th place with a time of 13:43, and Rebecca Hicks ran 16:03. There were 18 girls in the junior high race.