Eureka, Marquette girls will race in Class 4 state cross country meet
By: Warren Mayes
Eureka is back at girls state cross country meet after winning the sectional and sophomore standout Hannah Long also winning the race for the second year in a row.
Marquette came in second at the Class 4 Sectional 1 race at Parkway Central to qualify for the state meet Saturday (Nov. 3) at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.
“Our goal every year is actually just to get through,” Eureka coach Kally Fischer said.
Marquette coach Mike Ebert was happy for his squad.
“We were very pleased with the performance of our girls team,” Ebert said. “They all had outstanding races, with several of them running their best time of the season, and the others running close to that.”
Eureka followed its district championship by taking the sectional. The Wildcats finished first with 46 points. Marquette had 65 points while Lafayette had 70 to finish third. Summit came in fourth to qualify for the state meet.
“The girls raced exceptionally well at sectionals,” Fischer said. “It is a course the girls know well. Almost every girl had a personal record. It was a big confidence boost going into the state meet.”
The sectional was a tough, Ebert said. He just wanted his girls to survive and advance to state.
“We knew that both Eureka and Lafayette would be strong teams, and we just wanted to run our race and qualify for state, “Ebert said.
Long was the sectional medalist with a winning time of 18 minutes, 3 seconds. Teammate Angie Sumner was second at 18:55.
“Hannah’s time was not the focus of the last two races,” Fischer said. “We just wanted her to win as slow as she could. All of the other girls did their job and got personal records along the way.”
Ebert said his squad ran well at the sectional. That did not surprise him.
“The girls have done an outstanding job this season,” Ebert said. “We have four freshman that have made an immediate impact on our team, and our veteran runners have brought them along while also elevating their performances.
“Our girls’ times were great. To single anyone out would be tough because they all either ran their fastest time of the season, or were within 10 to 15 seconds of doing so.”
Marquette’s best finish at state came in 2001 with a second-place result.
The state field this year is again a good one, Ebert said.
“There are several strong teams throughout the state this year, and at least three that could be state champs,” Ebert said. “Lee’s Summit West, having won six years in a row, is the favorite. But Eureka, Francis Howell, and St. Theresa’s all field excellent teams.”
The Wildcats finished fifth at state last year. Fischer said it will be difficult again this weekend.
“The girls know going in to the state meet that it won’t be easy,” Fischer said. “We have a tough field of competition and the girls are excited to get in the race, execute their plans, and see how it unfolds. The state meet is always tough.
“Anything is possible and anything can happen on any given day. But I do know I have some talented girls that have worked really hard this season and they want to be on the podium as much as anyone.”
Long was second in her first state meet last year. Fischer rates her as one of the contenders for medalist honors.
“Yes, she is a favorite,” Fischer said. “She’s one of the top girls in the country. She’s eager for a (state) championship.”
Fischer is also looking for good performances from the rest of her Wildcats.
“All the girls will need to follow their race plan, execute the plan, and run with heart,” Fischer said. “As long as we know they have each given their very best for themselves and their teammates, everything should unfold as if should.
“I am looking for my girls to do what they have done the past couple weekends. They have the will to prepare, the desire to work hard and wanting it more than anyone. I always tell them (that) everyone wants to do well but it will come down to the one who wanted it most.”
Ebert is looking for his Mustangs to do what they have done all season — run as well as they can.
“We just want our girls to be confident and to run their races,” Ebert said. “They have done well with this game plan all season and we know if they do that at state they’ll be pleased.”
Here are the individual qualifiers for state from the sectional: 1. Hannah Long, Eureka, 18:03; 2. Angie Sumner, Eureka, 18:55; 3. Alyssa Jones, Summit, 18:59; 4. Sarah Nicholson, Lafayette, 19:04; 5. Chelsea Drum, Jackson, 19:13; 6. Jill Whitman, Cor Jesu, 19:13; 7. Megan Cunningham, Eureka, 19:17; 8. Melissa Brown, Oakville, 19:28; 9. Hannah Pierson, Marquette, 19:34; 10. Anna West, Lafayette, 19:37; 11. Rachel Yergensen, Eureka, 19:38; 12. Danielle Mohrmann, Marquette, 19:47; 13. Lindsey Egan, Parkway West, 19:49; 14. Eryn Bass, Marquette, 19:51; 15. Kayla Friesen, Parkway Central, 20:01; 16. Jessy Maddox, Lafayette, 20:08; 17. Melissa Menghini, Summit, 20:10; 18. Ashley Bertich, Marquette, 20:12; 19. Tabitha Griffith, Farmington, 20:12; 20. Lindsay Bass, Marquette, 20:13; 21. Libby Nisbet, Parkway South, 20:14; 22. Katelyn Evans, Seckman, 20:16; 23. Mary Hopkins, Summit, 20:22; 24. Allison Baine, Parkway Central, 20:23; 25. Shelby Hummel, Marquette, 20:23; 26. Mary Augustin, Lafayette, 20:25; 27. Maddy Brown, Parkway West, 20:27; 28. Amanda Heard, Cor Jesu, 20:28; 29. Grace Bueckendorf, Lafayette, 20:30; 30. Laura Woods, Lindbergh, 20:31.