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With blazing hot temperatures, the Ava Bears ran tough as nails with three Bears medaling among a field of 500 runners representing 27 schools in six separate divisions including junior high boys, junior high girls, junior varsity boys and girls, and varsity boys and girls.
In the junior high division, 8th grader Caleb Stillings who attends Plainview School but competes for Ava, ran that age group’s 1.5 miles in 11:44 minutes and placed 9th to medal out of 74 total runners.
In the boys’ varsity 5k race, junior Dakota Renner placed 17th out of 116 runners with a time of 18:14 to medal.
And in the varsity girls’ 5k, junior Christiana Shortt came in 14th to medal with a time of 22:36. There were 101 girls competing in her race.
Others competing were: 7th grader Jacob Luebbering finished 16th with a time of 12:07; junior James Ferguson placed 22nd in 18:30.7; senior Chase Dixon placed 37th with a time of 19:15.6; senior Kody Kutz placed 38th with a time of 19:16.02; sophomore Jordan Dirmirsky placed 40th with a time of 19:18.6; junior Luke Shortt placed 42nd with a time of 19:26.6; and junior Phillip Eubanks finished 59th with a time of 20:09.07.
All returning runners for the Bears improved their times from last year’s Strafford Invitational from 19 seconds to 1:37 minutes. The boys’ team finished 4th overall.
Strafford won the varsity boys’ race. Reeds Spring was 2nd and Mtn. View-Liberty placed 3rd.
The Ava Bears cross country team will compete in the Steve Waggoner Invitational at Willow Springs today (Thursday, Sept. 8), where 22 schools are expected to attend.