Run­ners Come Up Short At Sec­tion­als

McDonald County Press - - SPORTS - By Rick Peck

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.”

RICK PECK/SPE­CIAL TO MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

McDon­ald County’s David Lazalde and Nixa’s Luke Her­man run side-by-side at the sec­tional cross-coun­try cham­pi­onships held Satur­day in Cam­den­ton.

RICK PECK/SPE­CIAL TO MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

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.

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