Defending champion Marquette ready to run in Class 4 boys cross country district race
By: Warren Mayes
Ready. Set. Go.
The Class 4 District 2 race for high school boys will be run at 10 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 20) at Parkway Central.
Teams competing in the race are CBC, De Smet, Eureka, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Parkway South, Parkway West and Vianney.
The Class 4 District 3 race will be held Saturday at Blackhurn Park. Chaminade is the lone local team running in the event. The top four teams and the top 30 individuals not on those teams will advance to the sectional races.
The sectionals will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 27). Class 4 Sectional 1 will have teams from Districts 1 and 2 competing at Parkway Central. Sectional 2 will have teams from District 3 and 4 and will be held at Forest Park.
Also on Oct. 27, the district races for Class 3, 2 and 1 will be held. There are no sectional races for these classes.
Marquette is the defending champion. Mustangs co-coach Mike Ebert said the district again is challenging.
“Our district field is always competitive,” Ebert said. “There are many strong teams and a lot of quality individual runners.”
Among the returning Mustangs is junior Noah Kauppila, the defending district medalist with a tie of 16 minutes, 07.70 seconds. Kauppila went on to finish fourth at the state meet. The talented runner recently was the Suburban West Conference meet medalist with a time of 15:59.59. It was his second conference championship.
“Noah has had another successful season in 2012,” Ebert said. “He’s a thoughtful runner and a dedicated teammate. He rises to the occasion in every race.”
De Smet coach Bryan Traughber agreed the district field is as strong as it always is. The Spartans last won a district championship in 2000.
“This district is typically very competitive. This year is no exception,” Traughber said. “It is going to be quite a battle for those top four qualifying spots.”
Lafayette coach Sean O’Connor agreed.
“I think that the field is going to be going to be quite competitive,” O’Connor said. “There are several teams in our district that have a history of running some great times at the end of the year. If I was going to compare it to the last several years, I would say that it is about the same as it has been the last two years.”
It’s been a while since the Lancers won a district race.
“I was actually just talking with some of the former coaches about this because I couldn’t remember the last time that Lafayette had won districts on the boy’s side,” O’Connor said. “We collectively determined that the last time was probably sometime in the mid ’90′s but we couldn’t come up with a specific year.
“Ultimately, it has been a really long time and I am pleased that our team is in the position to have a shot at winning the district title.”
Traughber said he believes at least six teams that could qualify out of the district.
“Lafayette, Marquette and Parkway West appear to be the favorites at this point,” Traughber said. “Eureka, Parkway South and De Smet should also be in the mix. However anything can happen on meet day, so I wouldn’t count any team out of contention for a spot at the sectional meet.”
O’Connor said several of the schools are in the running to get out of the district and advance to the sectional.
“I think De Smet, Marquette, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Parkway South and us have the best chances,” O’Connor said. “What makes it a tough question is that I just named six teams and only four get to move on, which should make for an exciting race.”
Marquette seeks to advance out of the districts.
“The Mustangs are a driven and focused team,” said Mustangs co-coach Missy Ebert. “They are passionate about advancing in the Championships and they are ready to fight for the opportunity this weekend.”
The Spartans finished second in the recent Metro Catholic Conference meet. De Smet’s Austin Del Rosso was the medalist with a winning time of 16 minutes, 13 seconds. All this puts Traughber’s squad in a good spot going into the district.
“I am confident in our team,” Traughber said. “We continue to improve from week to week and we are prepared to run our fastest times at the end of the season when it matters most.”
O’Connor also feels confident in his Lancers. Lafayette recently won the Suburban West Conference championship.
“I do feel pretty good with how we are running so far,” O’Connor said. “There are always a few things that I think we can get better at but overall we are running well. With how competitive our district is going to be, we will need to be on the top of our game if we want to have a chance to win. I am really excited to watch the race and see how everything unfolds.”