- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
The Ava Bears Cross country team traveled to Willow Springs on Thursday, Sept. 8 for the Steve Waggoner Invitational Cross Country Meet that hosted 24 schools.
Steve Waggoner, the father of Chris Waggoner, head cross country and track coach for Willow Springs, passed away two years ago. Mr. Waggoner worked tirelessly each year preparing the Willow Springs cross country course and volunteering during all meets held there.
Willow Springs hosts several meets per year including 2 invitationals, the SCA conference meet, and the Class 2 District 6 state meet. He was a great example of a community member that really cared about healthy living, running, and physical fitness and he helped to promote those ideals through assisting in the Willow Springs athletic department.
The 24 schools were divided into two varsity divisions — Maroon which consisted of Classes 1 and 2 schools and a White division which was Classes 3 and 4 schools. Each division medaled the top 15 finishers.
Scoring for a cross country meet is done by tallying the place of the runner finishing. 1st place scores 1 point, 2nd place scores 2 points, 3rd place scores 3 points and so on, so just like in golf the smaller the number, the better the score. The places of the top five runners on each team are added together and that is the team’s final score.
The Ava Bears cross country boys placed 3rd as a team with 87 points behind Liberty who had 66 points and Hollister with 60 points.
Ava’s individual finishers were: Chase Dixon medaled by placing 6th with a time of 18:24.53, an improvement of 1 minute over last week’s time at Strafford. Close behind Chase was Dakota Renner who finished 7th with a time of 18:28.05 and also medaled.
Luke Shortt who also improved his time from the Strafford meet placed 18th with a time of 19:09.97. James Ferguson came in 26th with a time of 19:30.61. Kody Kutz placed 28th with a time of 19:40. Jordan Dimirsky finished 36th with a time of 19:55.72, followed by Phillip Eubanks who ran a 20:39 for the 49th spot. There were 112 total runners in the boy’s varsity maroon division race.
On the girls’ side, the Ava ladies also took home 3rd place as a team with 64 points. Plato, which has a very strong women’s team, took home 1st place with only 19 points, Van Buren finished 2nd with 57 points.
For the Ava Lady Bears, Christina Shortt medaled by placing 6th overall in the Maroon division with a time of 23:16. Kendra McCleary ran a 27:12 to place 26th. Ashley Rieken ran 28:08 for 28th place. Amanda Greene placed 34th with a time of 29:08. Both Amanda and Kendra improved their times over last week at Strafford by 12 and 45 seconds respectively.
Brittany Walker, running in the first cross country meet of her career, came in 41st with a time of 29:49. There were 54 girls in the varsity girls Maroon division.
Last week at Strafford, the girls scores were as follows:
Christina Shortt, 14th with a time of 22:36; Ashley Rieken, 69th with a time of 26:17; Kendra McCleary, 79th with a time of 28:20; and Amanda Greene was 90th with a time of 29:53.
West Plains Meet
On a record breaking, sizzling hot, 99-degree day, the Ava cross country team ran at the 34th annual West Plains Zizzer Invitational cross country meet on Tuesday.
The Ava Lady Bears only had one runner healthy enough to compete, with four runners out of commission due to late summer flus and sinus infections.
Kendra McCleary finished the 3.1-mile course with a hard sprint in on the last 150 meters to claim her fastest time of the season with a 26:44, blasting her best time previously by 32 seconds.
The boys on the other hand had a full team competing and showed a solid finish of 4th place among the 12 schools represented there.
West Plains claimed a perfect score with their first five runners taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places. The winner Drew Cargill led the Zizzers, running a solid 16:07 on the tight curved home course. The top 20 runners medaled.
For the Ava Bears, Dakota Renner placed 15th with a time of 18:24, which is a 5:55 per mile average pace. Chase Dixon ran a 18:44 for the 19th spot. Kody Kutz who earned a personal best for the season and for his career, ran a 19:15 and placed 22nd.
Jordan Dimirsky placed 28th with a time of 19:24. Luke Shortt ran a 19:43 for the 34th spot in the race. James Ferguson came in 37th with a time of 19:53.
Phillip Eubanks ran 20:47 for 42nd place. There were 70 boys in the varsity race.
The Ava High school cross country team will be competing at Joplin at one of the largest cross country meets in the United States this Saturday, Sept. 17.