On Saturday, Oct. 30, the El Dorado Springs cross country team headed to Clever to participate in the Class 3 District 2 Cross Country meet. On the line was a ticket to the Class 3 State Championship Meet next Saturday, Nov. 6, at Gans Creek Park, in Columbia. This year MSHSAA went from 8 district sites down to 4 district sites. So to move on to the state meet, teams had to place in the top 4 teams at their district level, giving 16 teams competing at the state meet. Also, individually, individuals placing into the top 30 individual places would move through to the state meet. The weather was great and the course was in fairly good shape, considering all the rain that we had last week.

The boys team were the first to take off, with the gun starting them off at 1 p.m. Senior, Daelen Ackley, as expected, led the race from start to finish and won by 35 seconds, finishing with a time of 15:50. He had originally went into the weekend hoping to go after a fast time for him, but when we realized the course wasn’t going to be as fast as hoped due to all the rain, he just settled for the win and conserved energy for next week. Juniors Connor Goatley and Garrett Klaiber, finished 5th and 6th for the Bulldogs, finishing just behind 3 East Newton runners. Connor finished with a time of 17:04, with Garrett shortly behind, in a big personal best time of 17:08. Senior James King and Junior Blayze McCullough rounded out the Bulldogs punching their tickets to the state meet individually. James King finished 26th with a personal best time of 18:21, while Blayze finished shortly behind in 28th with a season best time of 18:26. This was the first time that the Bulldogs have qualified 5 runners individually to the state meet. These 5 were joined by Senior Riley Quinlan and Sophomore Kyan Roberts, to find themselves at the end of the day, in 2nd place as a team, also qualifying the team to state. The boys just finished 9 points shy of the winning team East Newton, which came in as the overwhelming favorites. The way the Bulldogs ran put a great deal of more pressure on the Patriots then they were expecting going into the District meet. The team really came together today, and collectively ran an incredible race. We are really hoping to build on that, heading into the State meet.

Next up, was the girls race. The girls team just missed qualifying as a team last year and this year, the girls have had Redemption on their minds. They then found out in the middle of the week that one of their top 5 runner teammates would not be able to compete for the rest of the season due to sickness. This was not the first time that they have dealt with adversity this year, and each time they have stepped up their game. So they were challenged once more to step up their game, and not only run for their seniors but also the one who now wasn’t able to compete. So they entered the race with great anticipation and excitement, hoping to build off of the momentum and excitement from the boys. As the race began, Junior Hannah Klaiber and Freshman Audrey Goatley found each other and worked together, weaving their way through traffic and found themselves finishing 2nd and 3rd. Hannah finished with a season best time of 20:07, while Audrey finished with a personal best time of 20:11. Finishing shortly behind them and taking the last individual qualifying position for the Lady Bulldogs, was Senior Kenli Rader, who finished 9th with a season best time of 21:02. After some much anticipated waiting for team results, the girls, also joined by Freshman Olivia Graves, Senior Morgan Mitchell and Sophomore Myka Barger, found themselves ending up finishing in 2nd place as a team. For the team and all the adversity that they have faced this season, Redemption was truly sweet and felt really good.

Overall, this was an incredible day to be a Bulldog. The Bulldogs now look to build on their successes and finish the season on a high note, as they turn their attention to the final meet of the season, the coveted Missouri Class 3 Cross Country State Championship Meet at Gans Creek in Columbia. The Bulldogs will head to Columbia on Friday and get some time to preview the State course, before racing on Saturday. The Class 3 Boys State Championship race will begin at 1:30, with the Girls State Championship race scheduled to begin at 2:15. The individuals are seeking a top 25 finish next week which places them with All-State Cross Country Honors. Team wise, each team is chasing one of the coveted top 4 team trophies. GO BULLDOGS!!

GIRLS TEAM – From left: Olivia Graves, Colbie Wood, Morgan Mitchell, Kenli Rader, Hannah Klaiber, Myka Barger and Audrey Goatley.

BOYS TEAM – From left: Riley Quinlan, Blayze McCullough, Connor Goatley, Daelen Ackley, James King, Garrett Klaiber and Kyan Roberts.