PALMYRA, Mo. | Amid muddy and sloppy conditions, Palmyra hosted its annual cross country invitational at Flower City Park on Saturday.
On the girls varsity side, the home team came out on top as Palmyra placed five runners in the top 13. Palmyra senior Lauren Reid was the team's top finisher, placing fifth overall with a time of 24:00.57.
Palmyra freshman Laurin Sheputis was seventh overall at 24:19.42, Lydia Szarka was 10th overall at 24:36.64, Bella Perkins was 12th overall at 24:45.80 and Alyssa Noland was 13th overall at 24:57.55.
Palmyra head coach Nicholas Koetters said he emphasized to his runners to perform well since it was a home meet.
“I just wanted them to stay as close together as possible,” Koetters said. “It was awesome to seeing them run that well, especially with the conditions. Their times were a lot better than I thought they would be.”
Individually, it was Marion County's Delaney Straus that won the girls race with a time of 21.28.90. Wright City's Zoe Riggs was second and Winfield's Kadence Berry was third.
Monroe City finished second in the girls race, with junior Emmalee Williams placing fourth overall with a time of 22:58.25. Freshman Ella Hays finished sixth overall at 24:13.95 in her first varsity race.
“The girls were a little apprehensive in the beginning,” said Monroe City head coach Laura Mulvaney. “We had a little sit down and talked about the fact that everyone is running the same exact course. Yes, it's going to be slick and muddy, but we have the straightaways when you really have to go.”
Mark Twain finished third overall, with sophomore Matera Ellis leading the way with a 14th place finish. Sophomore Lauren Booth would finish 17th overall, senior Zoe Miller would finish 21st overall and freshman Cynthia Resor would finish 22nd overall.
Mark Twain head coach Erin Mack said the girls team performed really well.
“I explained to the kids we ran in conditions like this before,” Mack said. “We've got a grass path at our school and we do hill work on it, so I told them it's not any different than practicing at school on the same type of terrain.”
Rounding out the girls team finishes were Highland in fourth, Kirksville in fifth and Marion County in sixth. Hannibal senior Andrew Bryant finished 25th overall, but the Pirates did not field a full girls team.
Kirksville finished first as a team, dominating the boys varsity race with the three top individual finishers. Kirksville sophomore Dominic Cahalan won the race with a time of 18:41.46. Junior Kevin Dortch finished second and senior Patrick Ranson finished third.
Hannibal was second overall, with sophomore Cameron Nichols finishing fourth overall with a time of 19:09.64. The Pirates had two other top-20 finishers with sophomore Eli Hess finishing 12th and freshman Reign Creech finishing 20th. Senior Gavin Morawitz just missed the top-20, finishing 21st overall.
Nichols said he feels like Hannibal performed well in the Palmyra meet, but could improve as the season goes on.
“This meet is always pretty hard because it has a lot of hills, ups and downs and sharp corners,” Nichols said. “It didn't help that there were some really soggy patches that would go up past your ankles.”
Monroe City finished third overall, with junior Kabott Harlan leading the way with a sixth-place finish. Senior Kaleb Griffin finished ninth, sophomore Jackson Wheeler finished 19th and senior Logan Lucas finished 22nd.
“It was a really impressive day,” Mulvaney said. “When we only have five boys and three of them finish in the top-20 and another finishes 22nd, it's a pretty good day. Especially when you think of the fact that Kirksville is such a bigger school, so it looks like they have so many kids coming through, but we were able to sprinkle ourselves in.”
Palmyra finished fourth overall, and senior Casey Hathaway had the top individual finish at 10th. Sophomore Connor Bross was the next best finisher at 26th overall.
“Our boys (team) is young and getting better,” Koetters said. “They finished in the top-four as a team, (I am) pretty happy and they did well.”
Rounding out the boys side was Mark Twain in fifth, Winfield in sixth and Clark County in seventh. Tigers junior Will Owen finished 13th overall and sophomore Gabe Howald finished 23rd.
“The boys team had some big gaps in there we need to fill,” Mack said. “We are missing one of our top runners in Brandon Black, who is home sick today.”