XC Fourth at State, Record Times; 15th Trophy Since 1997
XC Fourth at State, Record Times; 15th Trophy Since 1997

Friday, November 5
Gans Creek Recreation Area (3350 E Gans Rd, Columbia, MO 65201)

On a beautiful November morning in Columbia, SLUH finished in fourth place in the large school classification of the MSHSAA Cross Country Championships. This is our program's 15th State Trophy earned since 1997.

Watching results come in the Class 4 race before us, we knew conditions were ripe for a fast race. After the first kilometer, 14 runners led the pack through at a fast sub-15 minute 5K pace. The pace slowed a little bit over the more challenging second kilometer, at the conclusion of which four teams had clearly separated themselves from the rest: Rock Bridge (Columbia), Liberty North (Kansas City), Kickapoo (Springfield), and SLUH. Over the second half of the race, the fight was on to see which of the four trophies each of these four teams would secure. The scores tightened considerably, but it was Kickapoo's late surge that earned them the championship over Rock Bridge, who had led the race at every kilometer mark until the finish, and Liberty North edged us out for third. Grant Brawley led the charge for SLUH, finishing in 11th place. Sean Kellogg and Baker Pashea were close behind in 16th and 23rd, all three of them running PRs and earning All-State recognition. Justin Glass, Joe LaBarge, and Tim Greiner closed within a second of each other in 48th through 54th place to secure our team score. Sophomore Charlie Murray finished as the sixth-strongest #7 runner of all 16 teams, including out-kicking Kickapoo's #7.

Though a cursory glance at our fourth place finish might suggest a drop off from our previous three consecutive second place finishes, the stats tell a more nuanced story.

  • Our 5k average of 16:00.1 is the fastest average time ever registered by a SLUH team. This includes three runners who ran under 16:00. We have had a total of 10 other runners ever eclipse this mark in a 5k race.
  • Our three All-State runners equals our most ever in a State race (2018, 2013, 2009, 2008, 2005).
  • Our 38-second scoring spread is our tightest spread of the season in a 5k race.
  • Our #5 and #6 runners were the best placing #5 and #6 runners in the race.

If we knew those four things before the race started, we would have been thrilled. Most years, those pieces of data would even result in a team championship. However, there were three other exceptionally strong teams in this year's State race. We have to simply tip our cap to these teams and be proud of what we have done. Cross country is a unique sport in that it is possible to acknowledge and be proud that you brought your best on a given day, no matter the external result, and that was the case on Friday. Fierce competition brought out a very good day of running from our team. And with very few seniors leaving from those three other teams, the challenge heading into the offseason is clear and present. Nothing can ever be taken for granted in this sport, and we hope our returners are motivated by this challenge and will rise to the occasion.

We are grateful for the investment and hard work of all team members, many of whom were able to be at Gans Creek on Friday to cheer on the racers. Success at State is success to be shared by all team members, and everyone has great reason to feel pride at how the 2021 SLUH XC season reached its conclusion. We have a lot to celebrate and be grateful for. This gratitude includes the contributions and leadership of the seniors, who now hold the distinction of being part of four consecutive trophy teams. We also want to thank Megan Vitale and Sheri Ammon for their excellent photographs from Friday's race, not to mention their photographs from throughout the season.

1. Kickapoo, 77 (Team Champion)
2. Rock Bridge, 81 (Team Trophy)
3. Liberty North, 111 (Team Trophy)
4. SLUH, 116 (Team Trophy)
5. Kirkwood, 174
6. Lafayette, 197
7. Rockhurst, 204
8. Raymore-Peculiar, 220
9. Joplin, 224
10. Lee's Summit North, 224
11. Blue Springs South, 242
12. Columbia Hickman, 306
13. Nixa, 307
14. Jackson, 334
15. Timberland, 353
16. Fort Zumwalt West, 365

11. Grant Brawley, 15:41.1 (All-State, PR 0:33, #2 State time in program history)
16. Sean Kellogg, 15:47.8 (All-State, PR 0:04, #5 State time in program history)
23. Baker Pashea, 15:53.8 (All-State, PR 0:18, #7 State time in program history)
48. Justin Glass, 16:18.5 (PR 0:08, #14 State time in program history)
50. Joe LaBarge, 16:19.2 (#15 State time in program history)
54. Tim Greiner, 16:19.9 (PR 0:20, #18 State time in program history & 3rd fastest by a junior)
131. Charlie Murray, 17:13.1

Class 5 Boys Race Results - Included in this link are the kilometer-by-kilometer splits viewable for each team and individual runner. (Finish results listed as a PDF)