Considering it was the first time for three of the four runners Saturday at the Missouri State Cross-Country Championships in Jefferson City, New Franklin and Prairie Home may have exceeded all expectations on a cold and windy day at Oak Hills Golf Course.
Although the number of runners tripled their competition from the week before at districts, New Franklin’s Mallori Burnett, Tyler Perkins and Sam Ridgeway and Prairie Home’s Sage Eichenburch still had high hopes of bringing home a medal.
As it turned out, Burnett had the best finish of the four while placing 91st out of 154 runners in a time of 24:33.83.
Ashley Riley of South Nodaway turned in the winning time for the Class 1 girls in 19:55.53. Emma Deer of Mound City, meanwhile, finished second in a time of 20:58.80.
As for New Franklin boys, sophomore Tyler Perkins finished in 116th place out of 165 runners in a time of 19:54.38 while senior Sam Ridgeway turned in a time of 20:35.49 for 134th place.
Prairie Home senior Sage Eichenburch, meanwhile, had the highest finish for runners in the area by placing 105th overall in a time of 19:40.17.
Easton Sabalia of Hermitage had the top time in the Class 1 boys race in 16:43.33. Chase Ratliff of Weaubleau, meanwhile, finished second in a time of 16:52.20.
Prairie Home coach Marie Pope said Eichenburch’s time wasn’t a personal record but it was a hard course. “A phenomenal race for Prairie Home’s first ever state appearance,” Pope said.
As for New Franklin coach Adam Quest, he said it was very difficult to know what to expect from the three athletes that qualified for the state meet.  
“For two of the three, it was their first time qualifying for state,” Quest said, “and after such a high last week at Districts, I was hoping that I could keep their nerves down.  Even qualifying for the state meet is an accomplishment in and of itself, as there are countless athletes who compete each season and never get to experience the state meet.  This was a point I really tried to drive home with the kids this week.  I also wanted them to know that it was very difficult to win a medal at state, so I had all of them set their own personal goals for the meet.  
“All three of them came out of the gate a little faster than normal, a consequence of the built up adrenaline and nerves I imagine.  But in the end, all three ran wonderful races and can certainly be proud of their performance.  Mallori Burnett was our best place finisher, coming in 91st place.  Being just a freshman, I am excited that she was able to finish so well.  Tyler Perkins was making his second appearance at the state meet.  He ended up finishing 20 places better than last season, coming across in 116th place, and also in his first state meet, Sam Ridgeway finished with a good time on such a tough course, finishing in 134th place.  It certainly was a great season, as we had a record number of athletes qualify for state.  I am hoping that this gives us something to build upon heading into next season."
In the Class 1 boys standings, New Haven finished first with 94 points.
Hermitage place second with 104 points, followed by Liberal with 138, Lutheran Kansas City with 150, Fair Play with 152, West Platte with 160, Oak Ridge with 180, Weaubleau with 196, Van Buren with 224 and Salisbury 10th with 263.
In the Class 1 girls standings, West Platte captured first with 104. New Haven finished second with 109, followed by Lutheran KC with 133, Liberal with 165, St. Joseph Christian with 168, Hermitage with 177, Van Buren and Salisbury each with 183, Valle Catholic with 197 and Glasgow 10th with 202.
In Class 2, Brianna Haller of Fatima turned in the fastest time for the girls in 18:50.44 while Caleb Cornelius of Saxony Lutheran had the winning time for the boys in 16:22.55.
In the team scores for Class 2, Lamar boys captured the title with 48 points while Fatima finished second with 61 points. Meanwhile, in Class 2 girls, Fatima captured its fifth straight title with 45 points while Holden finished second with 95 points.
In Class 3, Kylie Goldfarb of John Burroughs had the best time in 19:00.54 while Edward Wilhite of Warrensburg turned in the top time for the boys in 15:42.27.
Festus boys were the Class 3 champions with 55 points while Warrensburg finished second with 82 points. Meanwhile, in the Class 3 girls standings, Festus finished first as well with 108 points while Herculaneum took second with 110 and Helias Catholic third with 127.
In Class 4, Victoria Findley of Blue Springs South had the winning time for the girls in 18:09.34 while Victor Mugeche of Blue Springs turned in the top time for the boys in 15:29.13.