Claudia Nichols of Hannibal won the individual girls title at the North Central Missouri Conference cross country championships in Mexico on Saturday.

Claudia Nichols picked a prime time to finish first for the first time in her high school cross country career.

The Hannibal junior crossed the finish line in 21:23 to earn the individual title at the North Central Missouri Conference championships on Saturday at Mexico.

“Claudia paved the way with her conference championship,” Hannibal coach Charlie Newland said. “She has finished second at the conference meet the last two years. At this race, she raced consistently and she can be proud of her efforts.”

Nichols is the first Hannibal runner to win the girls conference meet since Emma Burditt in 2010.

Her performance helped the Lady Pirates finish second as a team. Hannibal was narrowly edged 49-47 by Mexico for the team title. 

“The girls were close to defending their conference title from last year but came up a little bit short,” Newland said.

Alayna Pipkin and Andrew Bryant joined Nichols with all-conference finishes for Hannibal. Pipkin placed fourth in 22:08, followed by Bryant in eighth with a time of 22:39. 

“Alayna finished her conference cross country career in fine fashion,” Newland said. “I am looking forward to her district race next week. Andrew's race may have been the race of the day. She improved her personal best by a couple of minutes and she was able to become all-conference as a sophomore.”

Autumn Bigsby (24:21, 16th), Alexia Gonzalez (24:44, 20th) and Ruby Roisum (25:11, 23rd) rounded out the Hannibal girls.

“Our other girls gave good efforts too,” Newland said. “Even though Kyleigh Gibbs did not compete, she was still able to support her teammates.”

Brice Miller paced the Hannibal boys with a 14th-place showing of 18:45 to earn all-NCMC accolades.

“Brice ran a personal best for 5,000 meters,” Newland said. “He is out for his first year of cross country and shows a lot of potential. The future is bright for him as well as his teammates.”

John Fritch was next for the Pirates in 19:22 for 17th place.

Following Fritch were Xavier Damotte (20:42, 28th), Jacob Chapman (20:45, 29th) and Darrell Taylor (20:48, 30th).

“The boys were very inexperienced but showed that they can compete within our conference,” Newland said. 

Coming up next for Hannibal is the Class 4 District 4 meet on Saturday at McNair Park in St. Charles.