COLUMBIA — Johnson County had a successful day at the state cross country held at the Gans Creek cross country course in Columbia on Saturday, Nov. 9.

The county produced five All-State runners and one team trophy, brought home by the Warrensburg girls squad.

Boldt leads Lady Tigers to fourth place finish

The Warrensburg girls cross country team, led by an All-State finish by junior Tabby Boldt, captured its 11th team trophy on Saturday.

“It’s a proud moment to see the trophy make its way back to Warrensburg,” Warrensburg coach Creighton Collier said. “Those girls earned it.”

The Lady Tigers finished in fourth place with a team score of 158 points — nine points ahead of fifth place finisher Lutheran South.

“We’ve worked so hard this season and we came in fourth and that is absolutely a blessing,” Boldt said.

Boldt returned to the All-State podium in her third trip to state with a time 19:13.7.

“Having people way faster than me helped so much,” Boldt said. “It gives you something to reach. Milestones in a sense.”

The junior worked her way up to the 12th spot in the first kilometer then passed another four runners in the second 1,000m to her eventual finishing spot of eighth, where she would stay for the final 3k.

“The whole time it was just, get the person in front of you, get the person in front of you, get the person in front of you,” Boldt said.

Freshman Emma Gebbia logged a 20:10.8 to finish 37th. Senior Rylee McLaughlin paced Allie Griffiths as the Lady Tigers duo finished back-to-back in 64th, 20:41.9, and 65th, 20:43.4, place.

Freshman Adriele Widerhoeft rounded out the team score with a 133rd place finish

“It really is a team effort,” Collier said. “Ultimately, it’s faith in each one of your teammates, knowing that they are going to do their job to put them in a good position to make it to the podium. They all did that today.

Freshman Laine Bushmeyer and senior Rylie Othic also ran in the state meet, taking 137th and 157th, respectively.

Junior Cooper Palmer was the top finisher of the boys side, claiming a 44th place finish in 17:00.7 with sophomore Drew Belardo two seconds off his pace in 49th at 17:02.8.

Senior Timothy Richner capped off his Tiger career with an 83rd place finish in 17:35.2 followed by juniors Garrett Shepherd in 94th place in 17:41.5 and Logan Shaw in 109th place in 17:54.8.

The Tigers finished 10th in the team stands with 224 points.

“It was just great to see the progression from the beginning of the season until the end,” Collier said.

Engel brothers capture All-State finishes

The Engel brothers brought home a pair of All-State medals from the Class 1 boys race.

Luke Engel was the first brother across the finish line, claiming a top-10 finish in seventh with a time of 17:14.9. Grant Engel came in 13 spots back in 20th with a time of 17:35.9.

This is both of the brothers first All-State finish .

““I’ve always wanted this,” Luke said. “It’s great.”

Luke Engel moved up from 19th in the first kilometer to ninth by the midway point of the race and stayed in the top ten for the remainder of the race.

“There were so many runners out there and there was always someone I could catch up to,” Luke said.

Sophomore Ryan Bailey finished 44th, logging a time of 18:13.3.

Kingsville’s lone girls runner, Talitha Hart, finished 106th in 24:33.9 in her first trip to state.

No slacking for Holden senior

Holden senior Valorie Slack capped of a decorated cross country career with her highest placement at the state meet, claiming seventh in Class 2 in 19:52.7.

“It hurt, but it felt so good at the same time,” Slack said. “My goal was top ten and all weekend, I had been focusing and preparing.”

Slack never wavered from the seventh spot, checking in at ever kilometer split in the spot that would end up being her final placement.

Aiding the senior to finish of the season with a personal best was a pack of runners vying for the four through nine spots — only nine seconds separated fourth through ninth place.

“I was telling myself to keep with these girls because I knew they’d keep me there and keep me motivated,” Slack said.

This is Slack’s third All-State finish in four state meets, taking 20th as a sophomore and 17th as a junior.

Fellow senior Camille Gudde logged a 21.22.7 to take 49th in her fourth appearance at the state meet. Gudde claimed All-State finishes as a freshman and sophomore.

“I wish Camille could have got it with me, but I know that girl worked so hard this season and I am so proud of her,” Slack said.

Wilhelm claims top-five finish for Knob Noster

Knob Noster junior Sam Wilhelm secured his best state placement in the Class 2 boys race with a time of 16:12.6 to finish in fourth place.

“I am loving it,” Wilhelm said. “I am so happy that this is the race that I PR’ed on.”

The junior held the No. 4 spot for all but the first kilometer. Earlier in the season, Wilhelm logged a 16:54.8 at the Gans Creek Classic, hosted on the same course earlier in the season, which the junior though gave him an edge.

“It prepared me, got me mentally ready for all the turns and where to sprint,” Wilhelm said.

Senior Colby Zink finished in 88th in his final race as a Panther with a time of 18:07.6.

The Lady Panthers, led by Christine Sturgill’s 95th place finish, took 14th as a team with 346 points.

Sturgill logged a 22:29.1 in her first trip to state.

Sophomore Haley Robles clocked in at 23:03.4 in 115th place followed by senior Carinne Fundaburg in 131st place in 23:31.9.

Junior Abigail Collier ran a 24:09.1 to take 142nd and freshman Caylie Holyfield-Mikkola rounded out the team score in 147th place in 24:19.9.

Crest Ridge’s Hurley caps off career

Lady Cougars senior Taylor Hurley notched her best state finish in her final trip to state, clocking a time of 22:47.8 to take 49th, her best placement at the final meet of the season.

Hurley finished in 84th as a junior.

Sports Editor Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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