Cross country achieves dual district titles

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Both boys’ and girls’ varsity defended their district titles from last year with strong races from the seniors to freshmen. With the district meet under their belts, they will continue to race hard next Saturday at sectionals, the qualifying meet for state. Photo by Paige Kiehl

Following through on high standards from last year, the cross country team won first place for both girls and boys varsity, earning RBHS district championships for both girls and boys today in Jefferson City at the district meet.

Starting at 11 a.m. today, RBHS competed against various schools in the district and barely achieved first place for both girls and boys varsity, as both teams only won by one point for their races. All teams faced 66 degree running conditions on an extremely hilly Jeff City course.

Fourth-year boys varsity senior Nathan Keown ran as the varsity boys’ number one runner, and took third place overall in the race with a time of 16:28. Keown said the course was the hardest course the team has run on all year.

“There are hills everywhere, and they’re significant hills,” Keown said. “We ended up winning by one point because Zach Cook passed one of the West Plain’s guys, and so that gave us a two point jump there. And then Luke Walters was 0.2 seconds in front of a guy, which got us a point. So, had Zach not passed that guy or had Luke not held off that guy that was right behind him, we would have lost. I don’t think this race was really quite reflective of how good of teams we really are because I think both teams are really capable of much better.”

Senior Megan Schulte ran the girls varsity race, and came out as number one for the girls varsity team, earning fourth place overall with a time of 19:42. Schulte said the team did pretty well, but winning by one point is a little too close for her liking.

“I think I ran a pretty strong race,” Schulte said. “Although coach usually says that we do better in larger races, like point wise, we still need to step it up for the sectional race.”

The varsity line-up for both the girls and boys varsity teams is still up in the air a little bit as far as the 6th and 7th runners for both teams. For both girls and boys varsity teams, many upper JV runners have ran to beat the times of either the 6th or 7th runner on varsity to win over their spot. The varsity team could still change before the state or even sectional meet next weekend.

“Our seventh runner has not been consistent this year,” Schulte said. “It’s been switching in and out who it is, so that could very well change. We’ll see how we’re doing with injuries and stuff to see who will fill in the spot.”

Overall, the cross country team did well given the conditions of the course.  Cross country coach Neil Blackburn said all runners ran a tough race on a pretty ugly course.

“You’ve got to figure out a way to win, and I think we figured it out today, but I’m also hoping that we’ll learn from this experience to make ourselves better for the future,” Blackburn said. “I think this course is awful, but everybody has to do it. So, with that in mind, I just think you have to make the most of it and realize that it’s going to stink for everybody, so do your best.”

By Julia Schaller

Have you ever run on rugged terrain? What did you think of the experience?

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Julia Schaller

Julia Schaller is a jack (or Jill) of all trades. When she isn't at home creating a magical masterpiece on the piano, watching a sappy romance movie while eating cheese or chocolate or whatever goodies happen to be around, or giving her dog Buddy more love than he knows what to do with, the senior stays busy running cross country and track. Somewhere in all her busy schedule, she keeps up with her duties as student body Vice President, as well as being the head of about a million other clubs around Rock Bridge. Julia never fails to have a smile and hug for anyone she crosses. If you need someone to talk to, Julia is the perfect friend. To contact Julia, send her an email at [email protected] Written by Maddie Magruder.

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