Class 4 district field for girls cross country teams again loaded with talented runners
By: Warren Mayes
Eureka coach Kally Fischer has most of her district-winning team back from last season including medalist Hannah Long but she said her Wildcats will be challenged in the Class 4 District 2 race for high school girls.
The race will be run at 10 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 20) at Parkway Central.
Teams competing in the race are Eureka, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway South, Parkway West, St. Joseph’s Academy, and Ursuline Academy.
“It’s hard to pick those who are favored to get out,” Fischer said. “The district is as strong as ever. We usually are in a strong districts and sectionals. All good teams bring good competition.
“Anything happens on any given day in this sport. We will just be focused on our team following and executing a race plan for us to get to sectionals.”
Long, a sophomore, is the defending medalist with a winning time of 18 minutes, 8.57 seconds.
“All but two girls are back with some other newcomers in the mix,” Fischer said. “Experience is always a plus, but this is a new year with a different seven girls and what they as a whole bring to the table each week.”
The top four teams and the top 30 individuals not on those teams will advance to the sectional races.
The sectionals will be held Saturday (Oct. 27). Class 4 Sectional 1 will have teams from Districts 1 and 2 competing at Parkway Central.
The goal is to advance out of the district. Eureka has a good chance of moving on to the sectional, Fischer said.
“The girls have had a solid racing season so far,” Fischer said. “We need to just take the rest of the season week by week and keep doing what we have been doing.”
Long has had another good season after her sparkling debut as a freshman, when she finished second at the state meet. Fischer said Long will be among those favored to be the medalist.
“Of course, Hannah has a chance to be a medalist again,” Fischer said. “She is ranked in the top 25 of the country for high school cross country. she is have an exceptional season which is far from over. We look for good performance from her at the state meet and Footlocker Regionals.”
Marquette won the district in 2006. The Mustangs enter districts fresh off winning the Suburban West Conference meet. Marquette has a young team with four freshman on the varsity girls’ squad.
“The Marquette girls are passionate and enthusiastic racers,” coach Missy Burger said. “They give their best every time. We are really proud of their hard work, dedication, and team-first mentality.”
Parkway West won the recent Suburban South Conference championship for the first time since 1993. Sophomore Maddie Brown was the conference medalist with her winning time of 18:37.7.
Coach Charlie Cutelli said his girls are ready to run in the tough district.
“The Class 4 District 2 is a very competitive district,” Cutelli said. “Some would argue that three of the teams in that district have a chance at placing very well at state. They include Eureka, Marquette, and Lafayette. We are hoping to fight for a spot. Other teams that are running really well that I know of in our district are Parkway Central and Parkway South.”
Parkway West last won the district in 1995. Cutelli said he does not know if his girls will win the district but they will be competitive.
“I do not think we are at the point where we can go out and win but we are headed in the right direction for the future,” Cutelli said.
He is happy with how his Longhorns are doing.
“The girls are running very well right now,” Cutelli said. “We are currently resting in preparation for the big race on Saturday. All seven of our runners need to be at their best in order for us to be successful.”