Washington will have runners in both Class 4 state cross country races this year.
The Lady Jays placed second in the Class 4 Section 2 team standings Saturday at Parkway Central to advance as a full team to the state meet in Columbia this coming weekend.
Washington scored 93 points in the girls race, second only to Eureka’s 62.
Other team scores included Lafayette (103), Wentzville Liberty (108), Parkway West (114), Marquette (118), Timberland (125) and Francis Howell (139).
The Washington girls had three individual runners finish in the top 10. Runners in the top 30 individually advance to the state meet regardless of where their team finishes.
“We knew we had a chance for the girls to qualify as a team but we knew we were going to have to perform at our best,” Washington Head Coach Mike Olszowka said. “We are very proud of the way the entire team ran. They are coming together at the right time of the year. If we keep our focus, we believe we have what it takes to make a top five showing at the state meet.”
In the boys race, Washington’s only sectional qualifier, senior Noah Little, finished 15th and will also run in the state meet Saturday.
Lafayette freshman Grace Tyson turned in the fastest time in the girls race at 19:09.56.
Wentville Liberty sophomore Ally Kruger, who won the Class 4 District 3 race the previous week at Big Driver in Washington, finished second in 19:17.67.
Washington’s top finisher, junior Mia Reed, placed sixth in 19:38.34.
Right behind her was freshman teammate Julia Donnelly, who finished seventh in 19:43.4.
Washington junior Jessie Donnelly placed 10th in 19:50.92.
“Having Mia, Julia and Jessie stack into the top 10 does a lot to keep your points down,” Olszowka said. “We’re hoping that all three of them have the same kind of a performance next week and possibly put all three of them on the podium.”
The Lady Jays’ next runner to finish was McKenna Jacquin, who placed 42nd in 21:03.43.
Lilly Nix was 59th to seal Washington’s trip to state, finishing in 21:34.97.
“McKenna and Lily ran very strong,” Olszowka said. “Both of them have been dealing with illness over the last two weeks. If they are healthy, we think they can drop another 30 seconds from their time which will subtract some big points from our team score.”
Also running for the Lady Jays were Allison Meyer (69th, 22:20.15) and Nina Zimmermann (72nd, 22:26.85).
“Allison and Nina ran very well for our sixth and seventh place,” Olszowka said. “Having them continue to improve puts us in a position to add points to the team scores and it’s somebody that we can depend on to fill a spot when we need it.”
Jefferson City won the sectional with 61 points.
Other teams to qualify for the state meet were Lafayette (93), Marquette (94) and Francis Howell (98).
Rounding out the team competition were Parkway South (119), Ft. Zumwalt West (122), Parkway Central (126) and Helias Catholic (143).
While Helias did not get though as a team, the Crusaders did have the fastest runner in District 3 champion Jack Crull, who finished the sectional race in 16:06.1.
Little, a three-time sectional qualifier in cross country and a defending state medalist in the 3,200-meters during the spring track season, made it over that hump to qualify for the state cross country meet for the first time.
Little turned in a time of 16:50.06, his second-best time of the season.
“This is the time of the year were you just survive,” Olszowka said. “He raced excellent at the districts. Knowing that he can run as well as he did on Saturday at sectionals and still be a top 15 runner puts him in a great place going into the state meet.”
The Class 4 boys race is scheduled to take place Saturday at 12:05 p.m. at Gans Creek Recreational Area in Columbia.
The Class 4 girls are scheduled to run that same course at 1:05 p.m., the final race of the day.