For the first meet of the 2017 season, the Boonville cross-country team more than held its own with three girls in the top 23 and  two male runners in the top 39.
Of course the Pirates weren’t the only area team competing at Salisbury. New Franklin, Prairie Home and Bunceton also had several runners take part.
With 67 boys competing in the meet and 35 girls, Boonville cross-country coach Blake Bodenhamer said overall he was really excited to see what the girls and boys teams can do this season. “With our first meet jitters out of the way, we are going to hit practices hard with a lot of hill work leading up to four next meet in Oak Grove on September 7th.”
Due to low numbers for both the boys and girls in this week, Boonville did not figure in to the final-team standings. Teams must have at least five on a team to be considered in the standings.
Nonetheless, the Lady Pirates fared well for the first meet of the season with senior Blake Allison in 16th place in a time of 17 minutes and 53 seconds and Annabel Carter in 18th place in a time of 18:35. Kia Moore also finished 23rd overall in 19:13.
Cassey Poole of Southern Boone had the fastest time for the girls in 15:23.3.
Bodenhamer said Allison and Carter both received medals.  
“They gave out medals to the top 20 athletes in each race,” Bodenhamer said.  “I was super happy to see both of these girls come home with some hardware tonight for their first race of the season.  Blake did well, shaving off about a minute from last year's time (18:52).  I thought Annabel did great too cutting off about two minutes from last year's time (20:39).  Kia looked strong for her first ever meet being able to stick with the middle of the pack.  I thought that overall the girls looked pretty solid for their first race, but there is definitely room for improvement.  
“I thought Blake and Annabel got out of the gate a little too fast this race.  At one point they were both in the top ten girls, but fell back towards the middle of the race.  That's just a pacing issue that we need to work on with both of the girls having a little bit more of a conservative start, so that they have more in the tank at the end.  For all of the girls we will definitely be looking at some more hill work in our week and a half leading up to our next meet at Oak Grove.  All of the girls could improve at their strength and speed in going up and down hills.”
For the Boonville boys, sophomore Cale Fox finished 23rd overall in a time of 14:26 while Nick Ferrari placed 39th in 15:45.
Bodenhamer said Fox looked really strong this race.
“Cale was disappointed a bit in his time because he thought he could do better, but that's just the kind of kid he is,” Bodenhamer said. “He is always looking to do better and improve on his times.  In the off season I kept telling him how much stronger he is looking this year compared to last year and his finish time this meet goes to prove that.  This year he ran the course about a minutes and 10 seconds faster than he did last year (15:37).  If we keep seeing improvement like that, I'll be very excited to see what he can do mid season and later on into our more competitive meets like conference and districts.  Nick Ferrari had a strong race for it being his first ever cross country race.  Like the girls, I thought that Nick also came out a little fast on this race.  He is new to the sport so he is still learning how pacing works and how to deal with some of the inclines and declines that he normally wouldn't see being a track runner.”
For New Franklin, Mallori Burnett had the fastest time for the Lady Bulldogs by placing 17th overall in 18:27.
For the New Franklin boys, Tyler Perkins finished 25th overall in 14:35 while Sam Ridgeway placed 36th in 15:29, Garrett Hampton 43rd in 16:03, Hayden Wiseman 47th in 16:19 and Asa Fischer in 52nd place in 16:28.
New Franklin coach Adam Quest said it's always hard to know what to expect going into the first meet of the season, andwith 3 of the 6 runners being freshman, that was especially true this year.  
“None of the freshman had ever run this distance before, so it was definitely a learning experience for them,” Quest said. “Overall, I was very pleased with how our athletes finished.  At most meets we compete against larger schools.  I always try to compare how we finish to how other schools our size finish, and with that as the comparison, we placed fairly well.  We definitely have something to build upon this season."
For the Prairie Home boys, Sage Eichenburch finished 13th overall in a time of 13:55.9 while Allen Haslag placed 56th in 16:59.01.
The Bunceton Dragons also had two participants, with Dillon Alpers turning in a time of 17:56 and Payton Johnson finishing one second behind at 17:57.