Cross Country takes first place at districts

Junior+Matthew+Hauser+racing+at+the+Class+4+District+7+meet.+Hauser+finished+in+first+place+with+a+time+of+15%3A38.+Photo+taken+by+Greg+Hall.

Junior Matthew Hauser racing at the Class 4 District 7 meet. Hauser finished in first place with a time of 15:38. Photo taken by Greg Hall.

Jared Geyer

Rock Bridge Cross Country (RBXC) set a precedent as both the boys’ and girls’ teams took first place in the Class 4 District 7 meet on Oct. 26. Both varsity teams raced at Lee’s Summit North High School’s relatively new cross country course. The top four teams in each of the eight district meets move on to one of the four sectional meets. 

Aside from Bruins, the other teams to move on from the District 7 meet were Blue Springs, Hickman and Blue Springs South. RBXC will compete at the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet is Saturday at Liberty North High School.

Coach Neal Blackburn said both boys’ and girls’ varsity performed well overall, albeit there could be things to “tighten up” in order to execute at sectionals.

“The most important aspect for us to focus on is to perform in a way that reflects our potential,” Blackburn said. “We want to close our gaps between runners and maintain a strong assertive racing style.”

The boys’ team placed all of its top five runners in the top ten, beating second place, Blue Springs South, by 49 points. Senior Isaiah Spellman finished in fourth place overall and was happy with how the team performed. He hopes to see a similar performance at sectionals, but more importantly racing aggressively and confidently.

“During races I like to focus on the sensory data around me like who is running near me, how I’m breathing, where I need to be,” Spellman said. “But during the last mile when it gets hard, I find that thinking about the team score and how hard we all work to be able to perform helps push me home.”

The girls’ varsity team also placed first place with a closer margin. First place finisher and freshman Carolyn Ford anticipates the girls’ varsity team can start the race confidently and keep the strong-willed nature the entire race.

“By starting and finishing the race like we did today and keeping that mentality during the middle, we should be able to race very well at sectionals,” Ford said. “Hopefully the [boys’] team will continue to dominate like they did today, too.”

Ford, who placed first in the multiple regular season meets throughout the season, finished the districts meet more than 20 seconds sooner than the second-place finisher.

“During a race I usually try to surge a little when I hear a teammate cheering. It keeps me from spacing out and running mechanically,” Ford said. “Confidence that you can beat someone can influence a face drastically, so I try to keep my breathing steady and my face neutral.”

With districts now in the past, all focus is directed toward the next test on the road to the state championship.

“We are in a very challenging sectional,” Blackburn said. “My hope is for us to continue to take steps forward and to take care of our business. If we do that we will have a very favorable result.”

How do you think the postseason will end for RBXC? Let us know in the comments below.