High schools

816 South: Missouri state volleyball, cross country on deck

Updated: 2013-11-06T19:35:23Z

By SAM MCDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

The last seven years have provided some bittersweet moments for the Lee’s Summit Christian Academy volleyball team.

The Eagles have won a district championship in six of the seven years, but they had bowed out in the sectional round of the Missouri Class 2 playoffs.

That all changed last Saturday.

Summit Christian defeated Bishop LeBlond of St. Joseph in straight sets 25-23, 25-18 to reach the Missouri Class 2 state tournament for the first time in school history. The state tournament starts Friday in Cape Girardeau.

“We realized early on they could make it there, but it was about getting them to believe it,” Eagles coach Mikki Shearer said. “It’s just a very well-rounded team. If one team member falters, another team member is there to pick it up.”

Furthering that point, Shearer says the school’s first trip to the state volleyball tournament comes without the benefit of a super star leading the way. Instead, the Eagles feature balance on their offense and look to libero Leah Nigh to take care of the defense.

“If I had to name one standout, it would be her,” Shearer said. “She’s only 5-5 tall, but she plays like she’s 20 feet tall. She keeps the team in it. Her defense is phenomenal.”

Now with a 21-8-4 record, Summit Christian will open state tournament play Friday against St. Pius X of Festus. The also face Hermann and Fair Grove as part of the round robin format.

“I think they’re ready for this stage,” Shearer said. “They know where they want to be, and they know how to get there.”

Cross country update

Lee’s Summit West’s streak of five straight girls cross country state championships ended last season when the Titans finished fourth place in Missouri Class 4.

But it wasn’t just the Titans who faltered. Among the top seven individual finishers, none was from the Kansas City area — a fact that St. Teresa’s junior Ann Campbell looks to change Saturday at the state championship race at Oak Hills golf course in Jefferson City.

Campbell won the Class 4, Sectional 4 race last weekend in 18 minutes, 48.3 seconds. That time would have been good for third place last season at the state championship race. Previously this fall, Campbell also won the Kansas City Metro Championships.

She had quality competition for the sectional meet last Saturday at Raymore-Peculiar. Lee’s Summit North runner Elizabeth Carpino also finished in less than 19 minutes, while Lee’s Summit West’s top pair of Annika Sisson and Kennadee Williams took third and fourth, respectively. Blue Springs’ Grace Klausen was fifth.

In addition to having runners who figure to make the podium Saturday, Lee’s Summit North and Lee’s Summit West appear to be the area’s top threats to compete for the team championship. Lee’s Summit West edged the rival Broncos at the sectional meet with Kearney placing third. Raymore-Peculiar earned the fourth and final team qualifying spot, led by Kami Tabor who placed 10th.

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