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The Ava Bears varsity men’s team had a tremendous showing at the Irish Invitational hosted by Springfield Catholic on Oct. 2. The meet was held at the Springfield Underground which also serves as the MSU cross country course.
Out of 27 full teams, in both the large and small schools combined, the Ava Bears finished 4th.
In the small school division, Ava finished 2nd behind Sparta. Carthage won the overall meet, with Branson coming in 2nd, then Sparta, and Ava.
Other schools that had full teams and crossed the finish line in order were: Springfield Catholic, Republic, McDonald County, Stockton, Strafford, Rogersville, Bolivar, Reeds Spring, Nixa, Harrison, Ark., Fair Play, Hermitage, Marshfield, Monett, Mountain Grove, Willard, Sarcoxie, Buffalo, Central, Southwest, Spokane, Willow Springs, and Greenwood.
In the several years that Ava has attended the Irish Invitational, this is the highest placing for the Bears.
Individually, Dakota Renner once again led the Bears with an impressive 11th place finish among 199 varsity boy runners. Dakota’s time was 17:17. That was 30 seconds faster than his time on last year’s course.
Renner’s average mile time for the 5k race was 5:34.
Luke Shortt came in at 26th with a time of 17:34, 56 seconds faster than last year. James Ferguson dropped into the 17s also and set a new personal record for himself with a time of 17:57. James was 40th overall and was 1 minute 19 seconds faster than last year.
Jordan Dimirsky blew his last year’s time up by 2 minutes and 25 seconds! Jordan ran an 18:15 and finished 56th. Caleb Stillings was close behind with an 18:28 and finished in the 66th spot. Phillip Eubanks ran 38 seconds faster and finished in 19:19.
Justin Young set a new personal best by 26 seconds and finished with a time of 19:34.
Coach Liz Kyger was quoted as saying “I’m really excited that the team is doing so well and dropping their times at this phase of the season. We need to continue to stay focused, train hard and take care of our bodies so that we can be at our best at the district meet.”
Christina Shortt ran a whopping 1 minute 5 seconds faster than last year, at 21:42, snatching the last medal for 25th place out of 123 varsity girls.
In the junior varsity race, which was a 5k for the first time this year, Hayden Schuster once again led the young Bears. Schuster broke into the 19s with a time of 19:44 and finished 17th out of 145 runners, earning himself a medal.
Aaron Linder ran a 21:53 to finish 64th. Sage Clunn finished 104 in a time of 23:36. John Vineyard ran 24:02. Logan Crespin ran a time of 26:40. Jonah Brown was close behind with a time of 26:49 and Cheyenne Lambert ran a 26:51.
In the junior high division, Jacob Luebbering ran an outstanding race and medaled by finishing 18th out of 211 junior high runners. Jacob’s time was 10:55 in the 1.8 mile race.
In the girls’ junior high race, Aubrey Schuster finished 70th out of 212 with a time of 13:54, and Rebecca Hicks had a time of 15:15 and finished 131.
The Ava Cross country’s next meet is at Mtn. Grove today (Thursday).
The Ava home meet will be held on Monday, Oct. 22 at the Ava Country Club golf course. The team would like to invite all their friends, family and community to attend.
Senior night will be held immediately before the races start.