In what will be one of the biggest meets this season for the Boonville boys and girls cross-country teams, head coach Blake Bodenhamer said Saturday’s Fulton Invitational appeared to bring out the best in the Pirates while competing against a field of over 270 runners.
Although only one runner for Boonville finished in the top-half of either race, Bodenhamer said the spirits were high for the boys because this was one of the first times this season that everyone got to compete together and push each other as a team.
In the final-team standings, Helias captured first with 72 points. Fulton finished second with 98, followed by Fatima with 113, Battle 114, Liberty (Wentzville) 236, Mexico 250, Camdenton 261, Palmyra 278, Hermann 284, Troy 284, Blair Oaks 290, Salisbury 310, Kirksville 311, Southern Boone 313, Centralia 320, Tipton 355, Van-Far 403, Hallsville 452, North Callaway 504 and Boonville 544.
As for the top time for the boys, Alex Dukes of Mexico finished the course in a time of 16 minutes and 42 seconds. Mason Gaines of Fulton, meanwhile, placed second in a time of 16:52.27.
For Boonville, Cale Fox had the fastest time for the Pirates in 20:01.54, which was good enough for 61st place.
Skyler Blumhorst finished 114th overall out of 145 runners in 22:04, followed by Ethan Van Dyke in 133rd place in 24:08, Charlie Pumel in 136th place in 24:50 and Tyler Weixeldorfer in 143rd place in 28:57.
Bodenhamer said he thought Fox’s performance was very strong.
“I was hoping that he could break the 20 minute barrier at this meet,” Bodenhamer said. “Unfortunately at this one he didn't, but I have no doubt in my mind that he will in one of our next meets. I'm thinking that he will when we head to Marshall on Saturday.  For every meet this season he has been running times that are around a minute and thirty seconds quicker than last season.  That level of consistency really excites me, because if he could be a minute and thirty seconds or even a minute faster than his PR by the end of the season I think he has a real good shot at making it to the state meet this time around.
“The soccer boys got to join us this meet which was exciting for everyone.  Since they were there, this was the first meet that we got to compete in this season as a full team.  Although they didn't have the performances that a lot of them were looking for, I realize that it is hard making the transition from the fast sprints that they are used to in soccer to the endurance based race of a 5K.”
As for the fastest time for the girls, Kendall Haller of Fatima turned in a time of 20 minutes and 29 seconds. Abby Hake of Helias finished second in a time of 20:46.54.
As for the Boonville girls, senior Blake Allison finished 75th overall out of 130 runners in a time of 26:26. Junior Jalyn Schnetzler took second for the Lady Pirates by finishing 81st overall in 27:14, followed by Annabel Carter in 88th place in 27:26 and Kia Moore in 106th place in 29:12.
A total of 130 girls participated in the race.
Bodenhamer said similar to the boys varsity, the girls varsity picked up one additional runner this week, as Jalyn Schnetzler ran with the team taking a break from golf.  
“Again, this made the girls feel like more of a team running together even though we were one short of scoring as a full team on the girls side.  Overall, this was not the best race for our girls team.  We had run this course much better in previous years.  I think where we need to look at is our pacing and strength in the last mile/mile and a half of the race.  The girls' 1st and second mile splits look on pace, but most of them are starting to sputter out for the last mile.  This will definitely be something that we are going to look at going forward. This was Jalyn Schnetzler's first ever 5K.  I was super proud of her performance and the way she stuck it out.”