Five members of the Washington cross country team have advanced to the sectional round.
Competing last Saturday at the Class 4 District 5 meet in Lebanon, three girls and two boys from Washington moved on by placing in the top 30.
Qualifying for the sectional meet were the top 30 finishers and the top four teams.
Washington’s sectional qualifiers were Ashton Leslie, Josie Plowman, Cheyanne Leslie, Travis Elbert and Tate Kitchell.
“We were very happy with the way the kids performed. All of our kids improved again,” said Washington Coach Mike Olszowka. “The training is paying off now. We’re peaking a bit early, but we planned to do that just to make sure we got out of districts to give us the opportunity to compete to qualify for state.”
The sectional meet is scheduled for Saturday at Camdenton. The varsity boys race starts at 11 a.m. The varsity girls race begins at 11:35 a.m.
The top 30 finishers and the top four teams qualify for the state meet Saturday, Nov. 9, at Oak Hills Golf Center in Columbia.
Washington finished sixth in the girls standings with 168 points and ninth in the boys standings with 208 points.
In the girls race, Ashton Leslie led the Lady Jays with a 13th-place finish in 20:00.
“Ashton ran strong from start to finish,” Olszowka said. “She is peaking right now. As her races have started to add up, her experience level has increased.”
Plowman placed 17th in 20:18.
“Josie reads race conditions very well,” Olszowka said. “She’s been dealing with a stomach bug for the last two weeks and it’s causing a lot of abdominal pain. Racing 5,000 meters with jabbing pains through your abs and still qualifying proves how tough she is.”
Cheyanne Leslie ended 30th in 21:02.
“Cheyanne has become invigorated over the past three weeks,” Olszowka said. “We talked on the bus ride to Lebanon about how she has never broken 22 minutes. She broke 22 minutes by a mere 58 seconds.”
Also running for Washington were Lexi Geisert (55th in 23:08), Morgan White (58th in 23:37), Alex Ready (65th in 24:03) and Kassy Briggs (66th in 24:07).
Kayla Funkenbusch of Rock Bridge won the race in 18:35.
Rock Bridge claimed the girls district title with 26 points.
Also advancing to the sectional meet were Jefferson City with 54, West Plains with 67 and Rolla with 115.
In the boys race, Washington was led by Elbert, who finished 16th in a time of 16:27.
“Travis got out early and was as high as seventh place through about a mile-and-a-half,” Olszowka said. “He started to fade in the last mile, but we knew by establishing early position, the second pack would not have time to catch him.”
Kitchell placed 28th in 17:06.
“Tate did not get out as good as Travis did,” Olszowka said. “It is a very tight course after the first 400 meters. Tate got caught behind a couple of groups and he had to fight the entire race to make up ground and hold position.”
Also running for the Blue Jays were Josh Luck (51st in 18:50), Andrew Tchiblakian (55th in 19:09), Parker Neptune (58th in 19:14), Clayton Duchatschek (59th in 19:16) and Jacob Huxol (65th in 19:34).
Rock Bridge’s Evan Schulte won the race in 15:18.
West Plains won the boys title with 31 points.
Also advancing to the sectional meet were Rock Bridge with 35, Glendale with 87 and Jefferson City with 102.