While the girls have been drawing most of the attention, Raymore-Peculiar’s boys’ cross-country team has quietly put together an impressive late-season run.
The Panthers’ girls, as expected, brought home the team championship Oct. 28 from the Class 4, Sectional 3 meet at Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, but the Panthers’ boys, despite missing some of its top runners, placed fourth and also qualified for this weekend’s state meet in Jefferson City.
“For various reasons, we’ve been without some of our top runners occasionally this season,” Ray-Pec boys coach Jamin Swift said. “We were still without our early-season No. 1 runner last Saturday.”
Even with No. 1 runner Nolan Dick’s absence and despite fielding a team mostly of underclassmen, the Panthers managed to place four runners in the top 30 and finished with 112 points. That placed Ray-Pec, which entered the meet seeded eighth, among West Plains, Lee’s Summit West and Webb City as the four team qualifiers for state.
Jaren Jones, who is normally Ray-Pec’s No. 4 runner, led the way for the Panthers.
Jones, a junior, covered the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 19.77 seconds to finish 15th overall. Sophomore Marlon Williams was far behind, cross the line 17th overall in 16:20.52, with sophomore Braden Zaner right behind him in 18th (16:20.77).
Seniors Zachary Hill (27th) and Nolan Wild (38th) rounded out the top five.
“Our boys somehow managed to take an average of over 40 seconds off their best season times,” Swift said. “That propelled our top three to place in the top 20. Our five, six and seven guys beat most team’s No. 5 runners.”
Ray-Pec’s boys are making their first trip to state as a team since 2013.
Meanwhile, Ray-Pec’s girls continued their season-long battle with Lee’s Summit West, edging the Titans 43-47 for the sectional title.
Juniors Miranda Dick and Makenzie Stucker, who placed first and second during the district meet the week before, took the top two spots again. Dick won with a time of 18:11.17 followed by Stucker at 18:24.70.
Marissa Dick, who was third at districts, finished fifth, while Gracyn Kloth was 15th and Laurana Mitchell 20th in team points for the Panthers.
The top four teams and top 30 individuals from non-qualifying teams at last weekend’s sectional meet will compete in the state meet Saturday, Nov. 4, at Oak Hills Golf Course in Jefferson City.
Pleasant Hill’s boys qualified for state with a third-place finish in the Class 3, District 7 meet at Warrensburg. Jerod Rottinghaus placed fifth and Landon Fatino was seventh to lead the Roosters.
Pleasant Hill girls Aubrey Scott (10th), Ashtyn Dickens (23rd) and Jadyn Dowdy (26th) also qualified for state along with Harrisonville’s Kaylee Harp, who placed ninth ovverall.
Sherwood freshman Zachary Holt took fifth place in the Class 2, District 7 meet at Hermitage. Alexus Kerr was 13th and Caroline Randall was 29th in the girls race and also qualified for the Marksmen.
Midway had four boys advance to state from the Class 1, District 7 meet at Warrensburg — Chandler Stephens (14th), Zach Rogers (22nd), Nic Puckett (23rd) and Logan Stephens (29th). Midway’s Ciara Battin took sixth in the girls race and also advanced.