COLUMBIA — Fresh off their third consecutive district title the previous Saturday in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 5 Cross Country meet at …
COLUMBIA — Fresh off their third consecutive district title the previous Saturday in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 5 Cross Country meet at Washington’s Big Driver, Matt Candrl’s Owensville Dutchgirl cross country team looked to become just the second Owensville High School cross country team to place in the top four at state.
Jim Collier’s 1995 Dutchmen harriers placed third as a team that fall at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.
Topping the team standings at the 2,000-kilometer split, OHS’ chances at landing on the gym wall were there.
However, other teams caught them during the second half of the race relegating them to a sixth-place team finish in Class 3 girls cross country.
“We were in the lead at the 1,000 and 2,000 kilometer marks,” coach Candrl said. “We were then second at 3,000 kilometers before falling to fifth at 4,000 kilometers. Still to finish sixth out of 102 teams in the state is an awesome feeling.”
Arguably one of Owensville’s best cross country runners in school history, Sophia Ashner closer her career as perhaps one of OHS’ most decorated cross country athletes.
Including middle school, Ashner was a five-time individual FRC champion, along with being a part of four FRC team titles and three district championships.
With her 11th-place finish in 19:19.6 Saturday, Sophia became the first Dutchgirl harrier in school history to earn four state medals.
“Year in and year out, Sophia’s been able to deliver when it counts,” coach Candrl said. “Being able to achieve all state four times is quite an accomplishment and she’s the first girl to do it.”
Ashner was joined in the top 25 by senior teammate Kendra Hults with an 18th-place time of 19:32.9.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Kendra seeing all of the work she’s put in finally pay off,” coach Candrl said. “She’s been a big part of this girl’s team that has been able to race at state four years in a row.”
Nearly breaking the 20-minute mark, junior Mekayla Gibson finished 31st in 20:02.1.
“Mekayla has worked really hard this year winning a district title and coming within six places of a state medal,” coach Candrl said.
Also helping Owensville to a sixth-place team finish were Katie Candrl (116th, 21:41.7), Arissa Huff (134th, 22:02.1), Kyah Weirich (146th, 22:33.5) and Macy McKinney (149th, 22:42.7).
“Kyah Weirich did an incredible job Saturday moving up from junior varsity to be our seventh runner,” coach Candrl said. “Running in the state championships was an honor she took seriously helping her run a lifetime best time.”
McKinney’s first and last state cross country race proved memorable for coach Candrl.
“Macy stepped up as a senior in her first year running and did a wonderful job,” coach Candrl said. “Her two fastest times of the year came on fast courses at conference and Saturday at state.”
Sullivan freshman Emily Willman (41st, 20:16.3) was the next highest finishing FRC runner behind Hults.