It took four years of steady improvement to get on the podium.

Pacific senior Will Green achieved that goal Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Class 3 boys cross country race at the MSHSAA championships in Jefferson City. Green finished 12th individually in a time of 12:07.1.

Green’s previous best finish in the state race came in 2017 when he finished 31st. He was also the 74th runner to cross the finish in 2016.

“It was a long time coming,” Green said. “I thought it was going to happen last year. I didn’t quite get there, so I put in another good summer. I wanted to go out with a bang and I felt like I did that today.”

Green opened up the race by establishing himself in the top 12 in the first mile, maintaining that position through the second mile marker also. At the third mile, Green fell one spot back to 13th, but reclaimed the 12th position by getting past Orchard Farm’s Carson Sanders in the final tenth of a mile.

“Will has really put a lot of focus into cross the last two or three years, putting in that summer training and winter training and last year coming out and running track,” Pacific Head Coach Justin Perriguey said. “He’s really focused on improving and I think we’ve only seen the beginnings of what he can actually run. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him if he chooses to run in college.”

Green led Pacific’s boys team back to the state meet in full for the second year in a row with a second place team finish in Class 3 District 2, where Green was the individual district champion in both seasons.

The Indians placed 13th in the state as a team in 2018 and 10th in 2017.

“We had a young team this year,” Green said. “I’m really proud of them. They grew a lot as the season went on. I feel like I taught them how to race and be young men. Our team is set up good for the future. They’ll be in good hands.”

While Green’s cross country tenure at Pacific ends, he still has the spring track season ahead where he competes as a distance runner. He’s the defending Four Rivers Conference individual champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and was a sectional qualifier in both races last spring.