For the sixth year in a row, no Class 3 boys cross country team could keep pace with the Festus Tigers.
Festus’ boys scored 39 points Saturday at Gans Creek in Columbia to win their sixth consecutive state championship.
Excelsior Spring senior Michael Rebello turned in the top individual time of 15:29.4.
The two teams to qualify from Class 3 District 5, which ran at Big Driver in Washington the previous weekend, Pacific and Owensville, finished 15th and 16th in the state, respectively. The Indians scored 355 points and Owensville finished with 378.
In his final high school cross country race, St. Francis Borgia Regional’s Ben Juengling was the only area representative to finish on the podium, taking home a state medal in 17th place with a time of 16:21.5.
“What an outstanding race by Ben Juengling,” Borgia Head Coach Mitch Figas said. “You could see his fitness and his confidence build through out the season. You kind of got the feeling that this was going to be a fast race and Ben was prepared to go out hard from the start. He didn’t go out crazy fast, but he was up where he could get himself in position to race.”
While the Knights didn’t field a full team in the district meet, all three runners Borgia entered advanced to the state race. Senior Drew Snider finished 59th in 17:18.1 and senior Nicholas Weber was 95th in 17:41.7.
“(Drew’s) season started with such great promise, but pneumonia is not something you are going to get over right away,” Figas said. “Considering the shape his lungs were in, I thought he had an outstanding effort. Nicholas should be very proud of his career. He deserved to be at this meet and ran a near perfect race.”
Union’s lone runner, junior Dominick Beine, placed 72nd in 17:26.2.
“He was sitting in the top 35 for the first half of the race, but couldn’t hold that pace for the second half of the race,” Union Head Coach Sarah Meiners said of Beine. “However, he executed well, and I was proud of how gutsy he was in the race. He has also grown a lot as a runner in the last year and is beginning to reach his potential.”
St. Clair’s only representative, sophomore Case Busse, ran 120th in 18:11.2.
“The new course organization, set up, and technology was tremendous,” St. Clair Head Coach Ben Martin said. “It was like cross country heaven. The scoreboards and meet set up really made runners feel like cross country is important. My only complaint is that (it) is not hilly enough. ... Case has a strong work ethic. I can’t wait for the next 364 days to pass and come back to watch (he and girls qualifier Hanna Spoon run) again.”
Pacific was led by sophomore Collin Haley, who placed 86th in 17:37.6.
Next for the Indians was freshman Nick Hunkins, who finished 98th in 17:44.5.
Sophomore Ben Brunjes (117th, 18:07.5), sophomore Dylan Mooney (135th, 18:29.5), senior Brayden Van Meter (153rd, 19:17.5), freshman Joseph Gebel (164th, 20:04.1) and freshman Cade Sutterer (166th, 20:23.5) were the remaining Pacific runners.
Austin Terry led the Owensville team, finishing 85th in 17:35.8.
Also running for the Dutchmen were Bam Wizeman (104th, 17:50), Cameron O’Neal (118th, 18:07.9), Treydan Williams (149th, 18:57), Harm Rademacher (160th, 19;41.4), Frederic Zheng (162nd, 19:47.8) and Jacob Breedlove (167th, 20:26.3).