Runners Come Up Short At Sectionals
Running against the state’s largest schools at the Missouri Class 4, Sectional 3, Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, McDonald County’s two entrants came up short in their bid to qualify for the state championships.
Sophomore David Lazalde finished in 44th place in a time of 17:01.74, while senior Alex Guadarrama was 63rd in a time of 17:43.55.
The top 30 individuals advanced to this week’s state championships. Sam Knopf of Springfield Parkview took the final qualifying spot, finishing in 30th place in a time of 16:40.42
Ryan Riddle of Webb City won the boys’ individual title in a time of 15:13.80. West Plains had four runners finish in the top six to win the boys’ team title.
Miranda Dick of Raymore -Peculiar won the girls’ race, covering the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) in a time of 18:11.17 to lead the Lady Panthers to the team title.
“There was a lot of fierce competition like we knew there would be,” said coach Rustan Crockett. “I was looking at the times coming in and there was a bell curve in the middle with 20 to 30 runners in the mix for the final few spots. So we knew it was going to be a battle. Alex and David were ready and were excited about the race. We talked before the race, that whatever we were ranked was not where we wanted to be at the end. We could go ahead and run a smart, safe race and place where we were supposed to place, but that is not the goal. The goal was to go on to state. They both ran pretty aggressive and still finished strong.”
The race was the last in the high school cross-country career for Guadarrama. Lazalde has two more years left to compete for the Mustangs.
“David had such a crazy race last year in districts (season-best 17:25 to finish in 33rd place) we were wondering how long it would take him to top that this year,” Crockett said. “It took him a little while into the season because he did a little less summer training than Alex.
“Alex went through a little injury and missed a couple of weeks and came back and broke 18 minutes late in the year. For Alex, just to
accomplishment. He is a good leader and I tell kids all the time to watch Alex and do what he does. Everything you want a kid to do, Alex does it. Two years ago, after I first got the job, Alex and I would train together. I told him ‘right now it’s just me and you out here, no one else is running in the winters, but if you put in the time these next two years and have good races, I can point to you and say this is what it takes — this is what other schools are doing and that’s why they are where they are at.’ He took hold of that and did it. He ran five or six days a week for two winters and two summers and improved by a minute each year. That’s a huge improvement from his sophomore year. He will really be missed.”
Crockett said he thinks the program has turned a corner, and he looks for improvement in the future.
“Last year no one qualified for sectionals,” Crockett said. “This year we had two. Next year we want to get a few more to sectionals and maybe get a team here. Hopefully, we can also get some kids to state. I have been talking to some of the girls and several of the guys, and they want to put in that type of training this winter. They love the sport and they want to reach the next level.”
McDonald County’s David Lazalde and Nixa’s Luke Herman run side-by-side at the sectional cross-country championships held Saturday in Camdenton.
McDonald County’s Alex Guadarrama leads West Plains Colby Sanders early in the Missouri Class 4, Sectional 3, Cross Country Championships held Oct. 28 at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton.