MICDS, Whitfield, Principia ready for Class 3, Class 2 boys state cross country meets
By: Warren Mayes
The MICDS Rams punched their ticket to the Class 3 boys state cross country meet with a district championship.
The Rams, who also won the district last year, finished third at state.
In Class 2, two schools will be represented. Whitfield won its district meet and Principia came in second.
The state meet will be held Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.
MICDS coach Chris Rappleye said he felt good going into the meet.
“Our expectation, based upon the results of the Metro League meet, was that we should win, but that it would take strong races from our varsity squad to open things up,” Rappleye said. “We were confident, but not complacent as we have a lot of respect for the schools we knew would be competitive. We wanted a stronger race result than we had gotten at Metro, and we got it.”
MICDS senior Amos Bartelsmeyer won the district with a time of 16 minutes, 35 seconds. It was his second straight district win.
“His time is strong, among some of our best runners’s best times, but not a school record,” Rappleye said. “He ran strong, on the shoulder of Kirk Smith from John Burroughs, another local standout distance runner who has had a good year. Amos made a move with about 600 meters left in the race that Kirk did not answer.
“He opened up the race earlier than he had in the Metro league meet the week previous which came fown to some 90 degree turns at the finish that made the conclusion of that race look like something from short track speed skating as he tried to get around Smith. Amos looked strong, and seems to be back to full strength, running confidently.”
The other Rams ran well, too. Rappleye said he was pleased with the other boys’ times.
“We had person records from all but one of our top five runners, and the one who did not PR was only a second and a half off of his best ever race,” Rappleye said.
It’s been a good season overall for MICDS depsite losing Bartelsmeyer for a period of time.
“The boys have run well, opening the season with a win at the Lutheran South Invitational,” Rappleye said. “We lost our No. 1 runner, Amos, to a protracted illness, but the boys stepped up in those races behind captain Peter Condie, who has raced particularly well in his junior year.
“It has been a matter of getting our strongest squad healthy at the end of the season. Illness and injury have let some of our younger runners have a chance to get some varsity experience, which has been good. Now we seem to be healthy as we head into the chamiponship.”
The state field again will be strong, Rappleye said. Ste. Genevieve, Festus and Warrensburgh all have strong teams.
“It will be a tough state meet, probably tougher than it has been in a while,” Rappleye said. “There are many more teams with realtively tightly packed times who will be in the top half of the race. Our squad is a little more spread out, so this will be a challenge to get our tp runners in ahead of those squads and bring in the back of the scoring pack as fast as possible.
“The district results out of the other side of the state also show a lot of fast, tight packs.”
Bartelsmeyer ran fourth at state last fall. He should be back among the top runners again, Rappleye said.
“Amos should be competitive for one of the top individual spots,” Rappleye said. “The second mile and the following half mile will be important parts of the race on the individual side. Amos needs to be with the leaders in the last 300 meters of this race; he has a strong kick. It should be an exciting morning.”
Rappleye also is looking for his other Rams to run well, too.
“All we want from them is their best effort,” Rappleye said. “We can walk away from any race result if we’ve done our best. We are a young squad, and whatever the result, we want to learn everything we can from Saturday’s race.”
The individual qualifiers from the district and their times are: 1. Amos Bartelsmeyer, MICDS, 16:35; 2. Kirk Smith, John Burroughs, 16:43; 3. Peter Condie, MICDS, 17:00; 4. Reagan Dykhouse, Westminster, 17:08; 5. Austin Gotway, St. Clair, 17:34; 6. Robert Wunderlich, John Burroughs, 17:40; 7. Jeremy Hill, Pacific, 17:49; 8. Randy Swaller, Sullivan, 17:56; 9. Blaine McKinney, Owensville, 18:03; 10. Andrew O’Sullivan, Priory, 18:05; 11. Alex Auxier, St. James, 18:08; 12. Josh Zoeller, MICDS, 18:09; 13. Zane Norton, John Burroughs, 18:10; 14. Chris Erxleben, Sullivan, 18:11; 15. Tyler Hinson, St. Clair, 18:12.
The Whitfield Warriors won the Class 2 District 2 meet at Spanish Lake Park with 35 points. The Principia Panthers were second with 44.
It was the Warriors’ second consecutive district championship.
“My expectations were to defend our district title,” Whitfield coach Matt Politte said. “Individually we ran well this fall but as a team it all came together at the district race.”
hitfield sophomore Nate Gelber won the district in 16:53.62. It was his first district district win. In addition, the time was a school record..
“Nate ran a great race,” Politte said. “He implemented our strategy plan to a ‘T’ and really trusted his training. This race was his first varsity race win and I was very proud of how he did it.”
The other Warriors also turned in good efforts.
“I thought the other boys performed very well, especially Matthew Ruvionv who ran a time of 18:16 and was the only freshman to qualify as an individual from district,” Politte said.
As a team, Whitfield has not placed in the top 10 in more than 10 years. The Wildcats’ best finish was a sixth-place effort in Class 1.
“The state field will be tough; it always is,” Politte said. “If you come home with a team trophy there is no doubt you have earned it. I feel Nate has the tools to put himself in a good place to be in the top 25. I am looking for the boys to run as hard as they can as long as they can.”
The Panthers last qualified for state two years ago, Principia coach Blair Lindsay said.
“Going into districts, we knew the boys had a shot if everyone ran well,” Lindsay said. “They did. We had season personal records for all but one runner. They ran for each other that day, not just for themselves and it showed.
“The boys have made consistent progress. District was the first meet where they really began to step into their potential.”
Lindsay admitted the Pantehrs “haven’t really looked at the state competition much at all.” Rather, they were just running to get better. It all paid off at the district meet.
“We’re going with the goal of running our best, and let the chips fall where they may,” Lindsay said. “State competition is wonderful, and one of the things that makes it so is that it’s unpredictable. I imagine the competition will be similar to past years.”
What is important, Lindsay said is individual progress and the lessons learned.
“Lots of good is gained from the competition,” Lindsay said. “It may be kind of a cliché, but the really important thing about this crazy sport is the character growth and development that occur. Medals, places, and headlines have a pretty short shelf-life. They may hint at the underlying value, but the real value of cross country lies in what the athletes have to become in order to run well or make progress.
“Our hope is that all our athletes gain in courage, mental toughness, willingness to work hard, poise, ability to hand pressure, sportsmanship, dealing with both defeat and victory, pushing through discouragement, determination perseverance, love for their teammates and gratitude for their competitors.”
That is the true yardstick, Lindsay said.
“I really do mean this. If the athletes aren’t better people at the end of the season as well as better runners, the season has not accomplished what it should,” Lindsay said.
Individual qualifiers from the district are : 1. Nate Gelber, Whitfield, 16:53.62; 2. Joe Bachmann, Lutheran North, 16:54.92; 3. Joe Anger, Trinity, 17:24.48; 4. Michael Howell, Barat, 17:26.72; 5. Conrad Heath, Principia, 17:42.68; 6. Michael O’Reilly, Kennedy, 18:15.40; 7. Matthew Ruvinov, Whitfield, 18:16.28; 8. Parker Tibbetts, Principia, 18:27.72; 9. Jared Klutke, Whitfield, 18:31.88; 10. Henry Baer, Whitfield, 18:37.46; 11. Ben Spitznagel, Metro, 18:50.26; 12. Nicholas Gaeke, Lutheran North, 19:01.70; 13. Adrian Marley-Weaver, Metro, 19:05.63; 14. Ian Tennison, Principia, 19:11.31; 15. Matt Ross, Principia, 19:13.59.