By Bill Hester
Special to the Southeast Missourian
Merideth Snow began her "running career" on the fields in Jackson while tagging along with her brother, Nathan, at his soccer practices.
And what a career it has turned out to be.
Snow has become one of the state's elite runners, and this week will pursue her fourth state championship, which would be her third in Missouri.
Snow's current team, however, is Eureka, which finished second as a team Saturday in the Class 4 sectional meet at Jefferson Barracks Park in St. Louis County.
Snow ran away with individual honors. She completed the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 12.46 seconds, which was almost a full minute ahead of Washington senior Mary Nothum, who finished second with a 19:11.19.
"It was a great day to run today and I felt good about the way I ran," Snow said. "I was also excited about my teammates. They did really well. I think the team has a shot to do some big things at state."
Snow, a senior, has more than just cross country titles. She swept the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, giving her five state track titles in two trips to the state meet.
She was born in Sikeston and moved with her family to Jackson when she was 2 years old. Snow attended Cape Christian School in her youth and kicked the soccer ball around and ran around the track a bit.
She moved with her family to Nebraska after the fifth grade.
And it was in Omaha, Neb., where Snow began to dominate. She won a state cross country championship as a freshman at Millard West High School in the state's large school class.
She moved to Eureka after her freshman year and has been the state's premier runner since. As a sophomore, she finished second in two meets behind Jennifer Harper of West Plains, but Snow won the pivotal matchup with Harper at the state meet. She repeated as a champion last year, going unbeaten in St. Louis area events.
Snow admits that there is pressure being a defending state champion, but pressure does not seem to bother her.
"I realize that anything can happen any time you step on the course," Snow said. "I just hope to run my best race and see what happens."
If that happens she will be running by herself at the conclusion of her final high school meet.
Snow will continue her running career in college at Texas A&M University. She also visited Georgia, Kentucky and Florida before deciding on the Aggies.
"I have some family ties at A&M," said Snow, whose parents and brother went there. "But I still probably would have chosen A&M anyway. I got a good feel about their coach, program and school."