Lafayette, Marquette, Parkway West, De Smet will run in Class 4 boys state cross country meet
By: Warren Mayes
The Lafayette Lancers cross country boys team has had a fall to remember and they have one more chance to make it one for the ages.
The Lancers, fresh off winning the Class 4 Sectional 1 meet at Parkway Central, head to Jefferson City for the state meet with the wind at their backs. The race will be held Saturday (Nov. 3) at Oak Hills Golf Center.
They have high hopes.
“In recent years the boys’ have not done that well as a team,” Lafayette coach Sean O’Connor said. “We actually haven’t qualified as a team since 2007 when we finished 15th out of 16 teams. Our best team finish that I know of was ninth in 1995.”
That could chance this weekend.
The Lancers, who won the district race, captured the sectional with 62 points. Marquette was second with 80 points followed by Parkway West with 93 and De Smet with 104. Those teams also qualified for state.
De Smet has qualified for the state meet for last 18 years in a row, coach Bryan Traughber said. In recent years, the Spartans have finished between 10th and 13th place. De Smet’s best finish was back in 1983 when the Spartans won the championship. In addition, De Smet also earned a state trophies in 1984, 2000, and 2001.
“We knew it was going to take our best effort to earn one of the four qualifying spots,” Traughber said. “Five schools at the Sectional 1 meet had finished ahead of us in previous meets so we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task.”
Parkway West also have a nice streak of going to state. Overall, this is the 26th time in school history the Longhorns have qualified for the state meet. They currently have made it the past six years in a row.
The Longhorns won state in 1988 and 1990. They have won trophies for being in the top four in 2007 and 2009.
“My expectation was that we would have to be at our best to give us a chance to qualify out of the sectional,” Parkway West coach Kevin John said. “I thought that our sectional had tremendous depth in terms of both teams and individuals and that it was going to be extremely competitive for the four qualifying spots.
“I thought if we put it all together and had a great team race, we would have a shot. Luckily our boys responded with their best overall race of the season.”
Marquette is back at state for the fourth conseuctive year. Last year, was the best finish for the Mustangs as a team with a ninth place result.
“Our sectional had some excellent competition and we were just hoping to run well enough to advance,” Marquette coach Missy Burger said.
The Lancers were positive going into the sectional, O’Connor said.
“I thought that we had a great chance to win but you never know with how good the schools that we were competing against,” O’Connor said.
There have been numerous highlights this season for the Lancers, O’Connor said.
“The guys have ran fantastic so far this fall,” O’Connor said. “The biggest highlights were Derek Legenzoff, Jordan West and Dylan Quisenberry all running sub 16 minutes in the 5k at Castlewood. Those three times are the fastest in school history, at least since 1994 since we don’t have any earlier records.”
Traughber said he was pleased with how his squad ran at sectional.
“I thought our boys competed to the best of their abilities on that day,” Traughber said. “Each one of them gave everything they had. We were led by a strong performance from Austin Del Rosso as he placed sixth in the field while Collin Sullivan ran with a great deal of determination to finish 17th. Our pack held together and fortunately they ran well enough to earn a spot at state.”
Marquette had the top two finishers at the sectional in junior Noah Kauppila, who won with a time of 15 minutes, 51 seconds and Adam Roderique, who finished in 15:55. Burger also noted sophomore Kevin Ganahl continues to run well each week in his first year on the varsity and Prasanna Rajasekaran, who recently moved up to varsity, also ran well at the sectionals.
Burger said she believes a Mustang can win the state medalist honors.
“Noah is one of the favorites to win the race, along with Adam Roderique,”Burger said. “Two runners from Blue Springs, two runners from Springfield, and some other strong racers (can win). All of these runners have run under 16 minutes repeatedly and it should be an exciting race to watch.”
While O’Connor was pleased with the Lancers’ times at sectional, he said they will need to run a little better at state.
“I think that we can run faster and that if we want to have a chance at getting a trophy at state, we will need to improve on a few things,” O’Connor said. “I think that this year’s state field is deeper than in the past but there isn’t that one team that would be considered the major favorite to win it. I think that there are about five or six teams that on any given day could end up winning.”
“The state field is highly competitive as always,” Traughber said.
Some of the favorites to win it, O’Connor said, are Blue Springs, St. Louis University High, Rock Bridge, West Plains and Lafayette.
Burger noted the field will be as good as always at state.
“This year’s State race features a variety of different and good teams,” Burger said. “You have some teams with excellent first and second runners, and some teams that have excellent packs. It will be interesting to see what team comes out on top.”
Burger also believes Blue Springs, SLUH, Lafayette, West Plains, and Rock Bridge are the favorites to do well.
John said his Longhors will be ready to run at state.
“The field for the state meet is always tough, and this year is no exception,” John said. “Parkway West has been in the top 10 at state in each of the last five years. It is our goal to finish in the top 10 once again this year, but we will have to race really well in order to do that.
O’Connor knows what he wants from the Lancers at state.
“I want my guys to stay focused and compete for the entirety of the race,” O’Connor said. “They score cross country with places (not times) so I want to make sure that everyone is fighting for every place possible because with how the teams stack up there shouldn’t be much of a score difference between first through sixth place so every place matters”
The Spartans just need to run as well as they can, “Traughber said.
“Simple, we are looking for each of our boys to compete to the best of his ability,” Traughber said. “I am confident we will be up for the challenge.”
Burger also believes her Mustangs can have a state to remember
“Our boys have a chance to have the best finish in school history, and that’s what they’re hoping to achieve,” Burger said. “Our No. 3 through 7 runners know they have to run well in order for this to happen and they’re excited for the challenge.”
Long wants his squad to end on a strong note this year.
“We want to finish the season off with a good performance,” Long said. “Our goal is never to just qualify for state, we want to qualify and go there and race well. If we race well, we will take whatever we get, but our goal would be the top 10. I know all of our boys have individual goals as well.”
Here are the individual qualifiers for state from the sectional with their place and time: 1. Noah Kauppila, Marquette, 15:51; 2. Adam Roderique, Marquette, 15:55; 3. Billy Leighton, Cape Central, 16:10; 4. Derek Legenzoff, Lafayette, 16:16; 5. Jordan West, Lafayette, 16:21; 6. Austin Del Rosso, De Smet, 16:23; 7. Dylan Quisenberry, Lafayette, 16:33; 8. Brian Hernan, Parkway South, 16:36; 9. Larry Lopez, Fox, 16:36; 10. Elvir Sarajlic, Oakville, 16:41; 11. Kevin Koboldt, Parkway West, 16:42; 12. Jake Burch, Farmington, 16:46; 13. Chris Carter, Parkway West, 16:46; 14. Tommmy Skosky, Lindbergh, 16:51; 15. Brian Krumrey, Parkway Central, 16:51; 16. Andrew Osborne, Parkway West, 16:52; 17. Collin Sullivan, De Smet, 16:55; 18. Kevin Ganahl, Marquette, 16:56; 19. Cyle Quick, Fox, 16:57; 20. Derek Albright, Lafayette, 16:57; 21. Ben Neuhaus, Kirkwood, 16:58; 22. Patrick Andrew, Parkway South, 16:59; 23. Jack Jeffers, Jackson, 16:59; 24. Eddie Albarran, Vianney, 16:59; 25. Nick Bewen, Mehlville, 17:00; 26. Kyle Pieper, Lindbergh, 17:00; 27. Matt Gibson, Jackson, 17:01; 28. Brandon Meyr, Oakville, 17:02; 29. Scott Coulson, Parkway Central, 17:03; 30. Bailey Davidson, Poplar Bluff, 17:05.