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The cross country state championships were held at Oak Hills Golf Center At Hough Park in Jefferson City on Saturday, Nov 4.
Despite the forecast of 68 degrees and sun, Mother Nature changed her woman’s mind and dished out a bone chilling 39-degree wind chill, overcast skies and 35 mile-per-hour winds to contend with at the state meet.
The poor weather conditions however, did not deter Ava’s Dakota Renner who turned in almost identical mile splits for the first 2 miles: 5:34 for the first mile and 5:33 on the 2nd mile split. On his third mile and toughest part of the course, the Ava High School junior ran the last mile at a 5:55 pace and finished the course in the 24th spot at 17:59 to earn him an all-state position and a never ending reign in the trophy cabinet at Ava High School.
The top 25 in each classification at the state meet are awarded the All-State honor. There were 173 boys in the Class 2 finals. Dakota’s picture will join William Platt’s who is the only other runner to earn all-state cross country honors for Ava.
Chase Dixon ran a 19:05 and placed 79th.
In the girls’ Class 2 finals, District 6 champion Christina Shortt finished 75th out of 152 with a time of 22:55, while Kendra McCleary came in 2nd for the Lady Bears in the 122 spot. Ashley Rieken ran a 25:18 for 127th, Destany Russell finished in the 132nd position with a time of 25:38, and Amanda Greene ran 27:47 for the 145th spot. There were 152 girls in the Class 2 race.
Hollister’s Austin Wenger, who was the District 6 champion, placed 19th at the state and Jasper Bunton from Mtn. View-Liberty, also in Ava’s district, placed 21st.
The overall champion was Brandon Shemonia from Scott City who won in a blazing time of 16:20. For the girls, Saga Barzowski from Arcadia Valley won the overall with a time of 19:37.
Herculaneum was the Class 2 team winner in both the boys’ and girls’ races.
Ava’s Coach Liz Kyger said: “Not only was it exciting for so many of our athletes to qualify for the state meet, but to have Dakota finish in the top 25 was such a thrill for the whole team.”
Coach Kyger went on to say, “They are an extremely tight knit group that really supports each other and their accomplishments. They all train together, root for each other, push each other in practice and during meets and are genuinely best friends. So, one member of the team making the all-state list is not just a great event in Dakota’s life but also an honor and a reflection of the whole team’s dynamics. Because of this, their attitudes, and work ethics, it made this season not just really enjoyable but also highly successful and I was lucky to be a part of it.”