On Saturday morning the Chillicothe Cross Country qualifiers found themselves at Gans Creek in Columbia, MO for the State Cross Country Meet. The team was excited for the opportunity to compete on a fast course, with great conditions, and against the best of the field. Out of the 16 teams that made it through Districts, the boys finished 5th, just 1 spot from a team podium finish, and the best result in school history. 6 of the 7 boys set new career personal records and Coach Dickson discussed how proud she was of their dedication throughout the summer and season. “They are the exact definition of, ‘I wanted to be good so I worked to be good!’ and I’m beyond blessed to get to coach them! Our top 5 boys each average between 330 to 450 miles per summer. Most of the remainder of the boys team averages 250-300 miles over the summer as well. Their success in entirely because they wanted it & worked for it… and consistently!”
Individually: Luke Thompson, Laik Gaham, & Cain Evans brought home hardware.
Sophomore Luke Thompson finished 5th, running the first sub-16 ever in school history, with a time of 15:57, setting a new school record. He ran a 5:08 average mile pace on grass with rolling hills. This now makes him the fastest Sophomore in Class 3 and 12th fastest Sophomore in the entire state of Missouri regardless of class.
Senior Laik Graham finished 10th with a time of 16:11, ending his last race of his high school cross country career with the best kilometer of his life. He ran a 3:06 split for the last 1000m, his fastest of the race and cross country career, passing 8 runners, going from 18th to 10th. “I can’t think of a better way to go out & we will truly miss this kid next year not just on the course” said Coach Dickson.
Junior Cain Evans finished 17th with a time of 16:21, which was a 25 second career personal record for him to earn a podium spot for the second year in a row. After the first 1k split he was in 58th place and then made up a lot of ground. The team is excited to still have him for another season.
Junior Alton Keller finished in 101st with a PR time of 17:44. His fastest time last year season was 18:58 and his freshman year was 21:08. This dedicated kid decided he wanted to be fast and put in the work on his own time in the off season. He has earned every ounce of it all and is a great teammate.
Senior Austin Lyford ran a 20 second personal record with a time of 18:13. He ended his freshman year with a 21:00 PR and has racked up quite a bit of off season miles to get a lot faster. Austin is also beyond dedicated and has had a few 500 mile summers over his career. He will be missed greatly, but finished his career with a huge PR.
Sophomore Trace Akers and Freshman Lake Englert were #6 & 7 runners on the day and had great seasons! Trace Akers finished in 18:50 which was a 37 second PR & Lake Englert in 19:17, which was right at his PR. This was their first state meet experience and both show great potential for future seasons to come.
Junior and 3-time state qualifier Yoo Jung Lee was the lone girl runner for Chillicothe and finished with a time of 22:40. It was close to a PR for her. “YJ had an opportunity to attend FFA Convention in Indianapolis throughout the week & we all agreed she should take advantage of that. Her 22:40 was a great time considering she didn’t get to practice all week & spent a majority of the week in a hotel and on a bus! I am super excited to see what she does next year, as I know she also has some big goals for her senior year,” said Coach Dickson.
Team alternates Carter Shipers, Landyn Peterson, & Zeph O’berry were outstanding and wonderful teammates. They helped the team in so many ways from helping design state t-shirts, to helping pin on bibs, and being the best, most positive and motivating boys out there. A team definitely takes all members to function at it’s best and it isn’t always about the time one runs on the course that determines whether they’re a positive asset to the team.
The Hornets finish the year with the three fastest boys in school history. The previous known fastest 5k time was 16:42.9 set in 2016 by Layne Worman. All 3 boys, Thompson, Graham and Evans broke that in the State Meet. Congratulations to Coach Dickson and her team on a record breaking season!