Sweeping both the boy’s and girl’s team titles in the Four Rivers Conference (FRC) Cross Country Championships last year at Loutre Shore Country Club north of Hermann, Matt Candrl’s …
Sweeping both the boy’s and girl’s team titles in the Four Rivers Conference (FRC) Cross Country Championships last year at Loutre Shore Country Club north of Hermann, Matt Candrl’s Dutchmen and Dutchgirl squads will squarely have bullseyes on their backs this fall.
Leading the way for the Dutchgirls is returning three-time All State harrier Sophia Ashner. She is also the three-time defending FRC individual champion.
“We’re expecting good things out of Sophia in her final season of high school cross country,” Candrl said.
Other Dutchgirl seniors looking to end their high school cross country careers as FRC champions include Hannah Baughman, Kyra Binkhoelter, Molli Gross, Kendra Hults and Macy McKinney.
Other varsity returners on the girl’s side are Katie Candrl and Mekayla Gibson.
“Katie and Mekayla have both run well in the summer to prepare themselves for the upcoming season,” Candrl said.
Running at Belle as a freshman, Kierra Finn will spend her sophomore season in orange and black for Owensville.
“Kierra (Finn) has been keeping up with the main pack throughout practice so far,” Candrl said. “We’re really looking for her to drop her PRs (personal records) as the season moves along.”
Rounding out the Dutchgirl cross country roster are Isabelle Bruckerhoff, Veronica Ventura and Julianna Watkins as juniors.
Sophomores running hills for the Dutchgirls include Arissa Huff, Jessica Johnson, Mackenzie Madonna, Kyah Weirich, Alexus Wenkel and Finn.
Savannah McClure and Saylor Richardson are the lone freshmen on the Dutchgirl cross country team.
“I feel like we’re going to be able to do some things that we didn’t think were possible,” Candrl said.
Running their FRC title streak to five last fall, Candrl’s Dutchmen harriers are owners of the longer FRC title run since cross country began in the FRC back in the fall of 1994. St. Clair owns the second-longest streak of FRC team titles winning four in a row from 2002-05.
Returners from last year include junior Austin Terry and sophomore Bam Wizeman.
“Austin (Terry) and Bam (Wizeman) have been pushing the pace throughout practice and did a great job this summer of doing the work that was needed,” Candrl said.
Right there with Terry and Wizeman are the junior duo of Paul Tyree and Cam O’Neal.
“On any given practice day, Paul and Cam have been right up there with Austin and Bam in the front of the pack,” Candrl said.
Competing in track as a freshman, sophomore Jacob Breedlove decided to run cross country.
Also in the mix to run varsity races are freshman Will Lauth, sophomore Freddy Zheng and sophomore Harm Rademacher.
“Will, Freddy and Harm have all run well throughout the summer and have put themselves in good position to be successful,” Candrl said.
Seniors looking to end their OHS cross country careers with another FRC title include Eddy DeLong, Dylan Fudge, Justin Garner, Alex Kellogg, Christian Lowes and Treyden Williams.
Samuel Hoffman and Braedn Stone round out the list of sophomore boys running cross country along with Breedlove, Rademacher, Wizeman and Zheng.
Freshmen in their first year of cross country include Noah Holtmeyer, Aries Nicholas, Samuel Nicks, Erik Shell and Trevor Shockley along with Lauth.
Owensville will start their cross country season the day after the Labor Day holiday in the Fleet Feet Classic in Arnold, Mo.
Four days later on Saturday, Sept. 7, Candrl’s OHS harriers and Tony Terry’s Owensville Middle School cross country runners will compete at the New Haven Cross Country Invitational.
Races will begin that Saturday at 8:30 a.m., with the middle school girls. All other races will begin five minutes after the conclusion of the previous race.
Dutchmen and Dutchgirl harriers will be competing against runners from Belle, Calvary Lutheran, Chamois, Father Tolton Regional Catholic, Hermann, Lighthouse Prep Academy, Linn, Montgomery County, New Bloomfield, New Haven, St. Dominic, St. Francis Borgia, Union, Vienna and Winfield.
Other September races for OHS will be ran at Forrest Park, Linn, Fulton, Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) in Joplin, Belle and in Columbia on the new state course at Gans Creek on the south side of the city.
Tuesday racing in October will feature invitationals at Hermann and Owensville on the eighth and 15th of October respectively before the annual FRC meet takes place at St. James Golf Course on Tuesday, Oct. 22.