A few minutes after Kearney High School sophomore Clayton Adams crossed the finish line on Saturday at the Missouri Class 4 cross country state meet, he attempted to describe his mixture of emotions.
A week earlier, he had won the Missouri Class 4, Sectional 4 meet, edging Blue Springs senior Stephen Mugeche in the process. But on Saturday, he watched Mugeche complete the state-meet course in 15 minutes, 32.23 seconds to win the race.
Adams settled for second place at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.
“You always want to win, of course, so there’s disappointment because of that,” Adams said. “But I couldn’t be happier with how I ran. I gave it everything I had. I can’t be disappointed with that.”
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Adams finished in 15 minutes, 43.24 seconds. He was the only sophomore to finish in the top 10 in Class 4. That offers a promising outlook for his final two seasons at Kearney.
As does this: Adams steadily improved throughout his sophomore season, highlighted by the aforementioned win at sectionals. That sets things up nicely for next fall, when Adams will undoubtedly be considered a favorite to compete for the big-class state title.
Asked how early he will begin thinking about next year, Adams replied, “Now. Stephen ran an amazing race. I think I can run that next year. That could be me. I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping to carry all of this into next year.”
Pirates’ senior fifth
A jump from Missouri Class 3 to Class 4 was supposed to make things more difficult for Platte County senior Nathan Straubel.
So much for that thought.
Straubel placed fifth in the Class 4 meet Saturday, when he crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 50.06 seconds. That’s nearly a minute faster than he completed the same course last season in Jefferson City, when he settled for 21st place in Class 3.
Straubel was one of only two runners to make the jump to Class 4 and still reach all-state status for a second straight season. Hillsboro junior Aaron Dugan also accomplished the feat.