The cross-country season came to an end on Saturday in Jefferson City at the state meet. Hannah Bruggeman and Tessa Durnell earned the right to compete at the meet for ElDo by finishing in the top 15 the previous Saturday at districts. The weather was in the low 50’s and sunny, perfect day for running.
There was a large crowd of people at the course to watch the state championships for classes 1-4. The atmosphere was unlike anything the athletes had seen all year. The Class 2 race included 155 of the best cross-country runners in the state of Missouri.
This is the third time Hannah Bruggeman has qualified for the state cross-country meet. The first time was with the entire girl’s team and the first year of the program in 2010. Hannah was really happy to be there and just take in the event. Hannah placed 35th that year and was hopeful of things to come in the future.
In 2011 Hannah had the potential to do well in the state race, but lacked the confidence needed to meet her goals. Hannah finished a disappointing 40th and immediately set her goals on 2012. Bruggeman put in the training over the winter, spring and summer to make sure she did not feel that same disappointment this year at state. All the hard work paid off for Hannah as she finished the race in 13th place and earned All- State honors. These honors go to the top 25 individuals in the race. Hannah stuck to the race plan set out for her going into the race and showed she belongs with the elite runners in the state. Hannah capped off an outstanding cross-country career by getting on the medal stand and raising the bar for future ElDo cross-country runners. Hannah will now rest and then begin training for the upcoming track season while exploring her options of running in college.
Saturday was a new experience for first year cross-country runner Tessa Durnell. Tessa really had no idea what the state meet was at the beginning of the season. Durnell quickly figured it out and early in the season made it her goal to qualify for the meet. Durnell followed Hannah’s lead early on, but by the end they were pushing each other everyday in practice. It took Tessa about half the season to truly figure out what the coaches wanted from her in meets and what cross-country was all about. Once she put it all together everyone quickly realized that Tessa has unlimited potential.
Durnell had her season slowed by a hip injury the week before districts and could not train properly for the two weeks leading into state. The focus for Tessa at state was to just enjoy the event and gain some valuable experience for next year.
Tessa set a goal of being top 50 even with the injury. She finished 45th and showed more guts and toughness than any athlete all year. Tessa immediately set her goal for next year after the race. She wants to be All- State as a sophomore and build from there in the years to come. It is hard to know for sure, but most believe Tessa would have been top 25 this year had she been 100% going into the race.
The cross-country team would like to thank everyone who made this trip and this season possible. The parents did an awesome job of planning dinners and providing snacks for the athletes at meets. This year’s parents were the best group of parents a team could ever ask for.
Harold Fugate and Jeff Witt helped greatly with fundraising efforts over the summer. Kevin McCullough, High School Booster Club and Optimist Club provided financial assistance for the meals on the state trip. Nicole Smith provided treat bags for everyone going on the state trip. Greg Girven and Chuck Johnson drove vans for supporters to go to the state meet. These are just some of the great people who have helped make this season a success. We are very thankful for everyone who made this season possible and we hope to keep improving in the future.