Having already made history by winning its first district championship in cross-country, the New Franklin boys cross-country team wanted a little more icing on the cake Saturday during the state cross-country championships at Gans Creek Course in Columbia.
While going over the course the day before, the Bulldogs felt confident that they could turn in some good times if not finish in the top 10 as a team in Class 1.
As it turned out, New Franklin finished just outside of the top 10 in 12th place with 268 points.
As for times, senior Sam Ridgeway had the fastest time for the Bulldogs by finishing 79th out of 171 runners in 18:56.2. Tyler Perkins, meanwhile, finished 85th overall in 18:59.7, followed by Douglass Creason in 124th place in 20:01.8, Asa Fisher in 127th place in 20:06.4, Hayden Wiseman in 131st place in 20:16.8, Jackson Dorson in 148th place in 20:51.6 and David Brucks in 161st place in 21:53.8.
New Franklin coach Madilynn Lyons said it was a beautiful day for a race at the Gans Creek Course.
“The course was new and exciting and our team was ready to see how we could finish our 2019 season,” Lyons said. “The boys went into the race each with a goal of finishing with no regrets. They were determined to push themselves and support one another. The boys ran some great races and found themselves much improved as a team from where they were this time last year. Tyler Perkins, Sam Ridgeway, Asa Fischer, Hayden Wiseman, and Douglass Creason dramatically improved both their individual times and finishes this year as well.”
Lyons said some specific highlights included Tyler Perkins (18:59.7) running his personal best time of the season, and Douglass Creason (20:01.8) running his personal best time of his career on Saturday.
Ridgeway, a two-time state qualifier for New Franklin, said after the race that his goal was to finish in the top 50 but didn’t quite make it.
“I know I tried my best,” Ridgeway said. “It may not be my best time but I tried my best. The course wasn’t as tough as Jefferson City but it was still a really, really tough course. There were some pretty decent hills, but other than that it was a pretty flat course, which I like flat courses a lot more.”
Ridgeway said he was sad that his career was ending because he has been running since seventh grade, but winning a district title as a team was amazing.
“I’m really proud of the team,” Ridgeway said.
Perkins also shed some light on his fourth trip to state.
“A lot of people don’t get this experience, so I just tried to work as hard as I could to get here,” Perkins said. “I felt like coming into this race my times were going to be a lot better because it was a flatter course than Jeff city, but it just felt really hard running on this course. Like the ground was harder than I thought, which my shins don’t do well on. My goal was a lot higher for my time-wise, but my team-wise was what I wanted-which was a district championship.”
All in all, Lyons said it was a great ending to a great season for the New Franklin boys cross-country team.
“They should be very proud of all that they have worked for and accomplished this year,” Lyons said. “As a coach, it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this team of exceptional young men."
Jace Cavness of The Fulton School at St. Alban turned in the fastest time in Class 1 boys in 16:39.7. Tyler Blay of West Nodaway finished second in 16:42.9, followed by Ryan Cardenzana of Blue Eye in 17:00.9, Codey Shuler of Fair Play in 17:02.8 and Nathan Fletcher of Greenwood rounding out the top five in 17:05.2.
Oak Ridge captured the Class 1 title with 89 points. Blue Eye finished second with 140 points, followed by Calvary Lutheran with 144, Fair Play 148, Liberal 162, Winona 190, Lutheran Kansas City 191, North Platte 206, Couch 213, Dora 216, Smithton 252, New Franklin 268, Winston 281, Fordland 309, Salisbury 311 and Meadow Heights 321.
Fatima boys won the Class 2 title with 77 points, followed by Festus in Class 3 with 39 points and Raymore-Peculiar in Class 4 with 104 points.
Wesley Porter of Rockhurst turned in the fastest time in all four classes in 15:07.4.
In the girls team standings, Blue Eye won the Class 1 title with 56 points. Fatima captured first in Class 2 with 53 points, followed by MICDS in Class 3 with 104 points and Lee’s Summit West in Class 4 with 109 points.
Julia Ray of MICDS had the fastest overall time in all four classes for the girls in 18:13.8.
Prairie Home senior Clayton Pethan finished 107th out of 172 runners in a time of 19:29 Saturday during the state cross-country meet at Gans Green Course in Columbia.
Prairie Home coach Marie Pope said Pethan took 51 seconds off his person best.
“I’m so proud of how willing he was to take on such a difficult sport and excel to such a high level in his first and last season of cross-country,” Pope said.