The St. Vincent cross country team made the most of their time at state.
The boys team finished 10th overall as a whole and every runner set a season best time between the boys and two individual girl runners as the Indians competed at the Class 1 and 2 state meets at Gans Creek Recreational Course in Columbia Friday. The St. Vincent boys competed in Class 2 and the girls in Class 1.
St. Vincent coach John McClain said his team executed the plan for the race very well.
“We executed the plan perfectly,” he said. “We wanted to go out slower and then in that last 1-2,000 meters go hard and pass a lot of people. Adrenaline and nerves are high and kids go out and use all their energy early. We sat back and started to pass people at the end.”
St. Vincent had two runners earn Class 2 All State as Carter Hennemann finished ninth overall with a time of 17:04.3 and Jackson Unterreiner finished 16th overall with a time of 17:15.1 in his final race at St. Vincent. Unterreiner finished one spot higher than he did as a junior at the state meet.
Hennemann and Unterreiner both finished the race strong, passing runners until the very end.
“Carter passed about eight runners in the last 1,000 meters and Jackson passed 15 people,” McClain said. “It can be scary when you see your kids back in the pack and then go pass a lot of people at the end. But they trusted the process and what we were trying to do.”
McLain said that Hennemann and Unterreiner pushed each other to be better during the season.
“If Carter doesn’t have Jackson there and vice versa I don’t think they get to the heights that they did,” McClain said. “It’s a testament to both boys.”
Ethan Hotop finished 81st overall with a time of 18:32.6, while Braden Pech was 113th with a time of 19:09.3. Noah Winschel finished 157th with a time of 21:39 and Jake Layton finished with a time of 23:06.
“You can’t really ask for more with every runner having their season best time,” McClain said. “Most of the hit those goal markers they had set for themselves at the start. When you are those number five and six runners, it can be harder because there aren’t as many people back there to push you and pass. They held their own.”
According to MoMile Split, the website for the state cross country meets throughout the season, the St. Vincent boys team was slated to finish 16th by the computer models.
“Going into the race we were projected to finish 16th, so to move up six places from that is impressive,” McClain said. “We were able to beat all the other teams from our district, other than Woodland, who won the state title.”
Abagail Kirn and Regan Meyer finished in outside of the all-state marker as individual runners. Meyer finished 41st (22:44), while Kirn was 45th (22:56) in the Class 1 meet.
“At the 1,000 meter mark, both of the girls were in the 80s, so they each passed 40 runners or so,” McClain said. “It’s crazy numbers to see. I told the ladies before the race that we are looking to get the whole team out there, so they needed to prove that they could run fast times at the state meet. And they did that.”
St. Vincent has two seniors on this year’s team in Unterreiner and Pech, while the girls will lose the leadership of Cailyn Prost