Thirty schools attended the Nixa Invitational and a hot one it was as temps topped at an unseasonable 90 degrees right as the meet was beginning.
Finishing in 49th, the Lady Bears were led by sophomore Emily Stillings with a time of 23:47, which was an improvement of 59 seconds over last year.
Eden Little had a time of 24:27, which placed her 56th. Emily Little was 89th with a time of 26:46. She improved her time from last year’s Nixa meet by 3 minutes 1 second.
Hailey Pedersen finished in 95th with a time of 27:54, and Calista Giorgianni placed 106th with a time of 31:26.
The girls were missing a key teammate in Allyson Shots who was attending a leadership training seminar for the FFA blood drive. The Lady Bears placed 15th in the Class 3-4 race.
There were two separate varsity level races at Nixa; one was for the Class 1 and 2 schools and the other was Class 3 and 4. Ava is competing now in the larger school division of Class 3. This is a new experience for the Bears. Since 2007, cross country at Ava has been solely Class 2 every year.
The Ava Bears finished in 2nd place when compared to the other Class 3 schools and was 8 out of 18 in Class 3-4 combined.
Joe Sicilia ran an 18:38 and led the Bears for the fourth straight meet of the 2016 season. Joe was 30th overall.
Collin Jenkins came in 2nd for the team and had a PR of 54 seconds per mile with a 19:00. Collin finished in 37th.
Jacob Luebbering blasted his time from last year by 2 minutes 56 seconds and finished in 40th with a time of 19:07.
Drew Adams was in the 48th spot with a time of 19:21, and Tristen Shearer ran a 19:27 for the 50th spot.
Jacob Key had a 19:35 and finished in 53rd. Devon Darlington ran a 20:55 for 84th. There were 124 boys in the varsity race.
The junior varsity entered five Ava boys in the race. Freshman Garrett Devore in his first race of his cross country career finished the 2.2 mile JV race in 15:37 and was 27th. Gavin Goss, who finished 42nd, ran a 15:59 and had an incredible improvement of 4 minutes 12 seconds faster than last year.
Troy Herrell had a personal best from last year by 1 minute 7 seconds with a time of 16:10. He placed 47th. Braden Swofford ran a 16:46 to place 66th.
Freshman Caiden Palmer made his cross country running debut with a time of 19:39 and placed 114th. There were 126 boys in the JV race.
The Bears and Lady Bears have a schedule change to be noted. Hollister Invitational has been rescheduled for Oct. 4 and will take the place of the Springfield Catholic Meet held the same day. Hollister is the site of the Class 3 District 6 championships.