With over 400 runners competing in the Moberly Invitational Cross-Country Meet Thursday at the Howard Hills Athletic Complex, this year’s run had a very somber feeling leading up to the start of the race.
Prior to the meet, Moberly Sports Editor Chuck Embree reported that a Harrisburg High School bus transporting both varsity and middle school cross country athletes to this event was involved in a two vehicle accident about 2:30 p.m. Thursday that took the life of its driver, Harrisburg cross-country coach Brian Simpson.
Boonville Pirates Cross-Country Coach Blake Bodenhamer said Coach Simpson was an awesome person. “Very sad news,” Bodenhamer said.
As for the race itself, Bodenhamer said  the meet consisted of varsity boys and varsity girls, JV combined and middle school boys and girls.
As for the Boonville boys cross-country team, Bodenhamer said sophomore Cale Fox finished 13th overall out of 82 runners in a time of 18 minutes and 47 seconds.
Isaac Ashton of Tipton had the winning time in the race in 17:03.55.
As for the two other runners for Boonville, Ethan Gunderson finished in a time of 23:25 while Tyler Weixeldorfer turned in a time of 27:33.
Bodenhamer said the boys team continues to look strong with Cale Fox as their captain.  
“Cale ran a very strong race today,” Bodenhamer said. “He ended up getting another PR with a time of 18:47, shaving off two seconds from our last meet at Marshall.   This also got him a medal coming in at 13th place.  I glad to see him do this to prove that he can consistently finish around that time.  I would like to see him cut a minute from the last mile of his race, as we inch closer and closer to the championship season.  Ethan and Tyler both had good races.  Similar to Cale, both of these guys fell apart a bit at the end.  Ethan received a PR of 23:25.  I'm hoping that Ethan can keep cutting off big chunks of time as he has been doing and get down into the 21's at least by the end of the season.”
As for the Boonville girls, senior Blake Allison continues to show progress after finishing in a time of 24:41 while Kia Moore turned in a time of 26:48.
Daelyn Schmuach of North Callaway had the fastest time for the girls in 20:16.35.
Bodenhamer said Allison had a strong start, and remained in the middle of the pack for the race with Kia following shortly behind.  
“Blake was averaging a seven minute mile and Kia a eight minute mile until the last mile of the race,” Bodenhamer said.  “I could see a definite change in running mechanics towards the end where I knew both of them were getting tired.  I am happy with how each started the race, now I just need them to keep that same pace until the very end. Kia ended up getting a PR today.”
Bodenhamer said most of the kids were happy with how they did.
“I think most of the group got PR's today which is always exciting,” Bodenhamer said. “I think the weather and the one lap course really helped the kids out.  Overall the group is consistent in their times/ consistently shaving off time.  Our one problem area is still the last mile of the race.  The athletes first two miles look very strong, but on both the girls and guys sides we need to have a faster last mile.  We will continue to look to strengthen the athletes last mile before our next race.”