Cross country finishes season at state championships

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RBHS Cross Country coach Neil Blackburn leads Zach Cook away from the finish line at today’s state cross country championships. Cook collapsed just after the three mile mark, picked himself up, and walked the race’s final hundred meters to the crowd’s applause. Photo by Asa Lory

Alyssa Sykuta

RBHS Cross Country coach Neil Blackburn leads Zach Cook away from the finish line at today’s state cross country championships. Cook collapsed just after the three mile mark, picked himself up, and walked the race’s final hundred meters to the crowd’s applause. Photo by Asa Lory

Boarding the bus at RBHS at 7:15 a.m, both the boys and girls cross country teams raced in Jefferson City later this morning to compete for the state championship title, after a sectionals win for the boys last week and a second place ranking for the girls. Of the 16 teams that competed at state, the boys placed ninth and the girls came in fifth overall.
Hoping to gain the championship title for a second consecutive year, the RBHS boys team lined up at the starting line at 9:35 a.m, making up seven of the 172 male Class 4 runners.
The team consisted of senior Nathan Keown, junior Evan Schulte, junior Luke Walters, sophomore Lucas Harrington, junior Zach Cook, junior Connor Crabtree and senior Drew Floyd. Expected to place in third behind Blue Springs High School and St. Louis University High (SLUH), the boys had a rough race, finishing with a score of 235, 137 points behind the champions, SLUH.
Schulte came in first for RBHS with a time of 16:03.09. Keown finished soon after, crawling across the finish line, followed by Harrington, Crabtree, Walters (who had fallen sick the night before) and Floyd. Cook brought up the rear after suffering severe leg cramps just before finishing the race, stumbling and finally collapsing on the blue mats that marked the end of the course with a time of 20:07.98. Schulte and Keown both received All-State awards for placing in the top 25 as fifth place and 16th place, respectively.
At 10:35 am, 164 girls lined up at the starting line to begin the Class 4 Girls race. The projected rankings this year expected the RBHS girls to finish eighth overall, although they came in second last year. However, the girls stepped it up in their final race of the season, earning fifth place in the end.
Part of the RBHS Girls Cross Country team runs together at today’s state championship meet. Photo by Asa Lory

The girls team consisted of senior Megan Schulte, junior Sam Farmer, freshman Maralise Stamps, sophomore Kayla Funkenbusch, freshman Emily Harl, junior Maddie Allen-Hansen and senior Sydney Ringdahl. Finishing in that order for RBHS, they earned an overall score of 133 points, a mere four points behind the fourth place team, Lee’s Summit West. Megan Schulte was the only All-State runner for RBHS, placing 21st with a time of 19:32.38. Farmer and Stamps were 16 seconds behind, their times only differing from each others’ by 0.31 seconds. Funkenbusch, Harl and Allen-Hansen finished in the middle of the pack, and Ringdahl finished last for the Bruins with a time of 22:40.33.
Although both boys and girls teams did not place as well as they had hoped, Crabtree was happy with his race and is proud of how both groups performed all season. He looks forward to competing again next year with another strong group of runners.
“Individually I feel that I did pretty good, but as a team it just wasn’t a good day. We did pretty solid all season. … We put it together all season and we were able to do well, we just couldn’t finish it,” Crabtree said. However, “I’m pretty excited for next year because we are returning four of our top five, and we’ve got Grant [Sykuta] and Quinn [Miller] coming in as freshmen, they’re going to be sophomores next year, so I think we’re going to have a pretty good year.”
By Alyssa Sykuta
You can check out statistics from today’s State Championships meet here.