Notre Dame, Saxony Lutheran bring home third-place finishes

Sunday, November 5, 2006
Notre Dame's Dillon Klaffer (520) and Logan Davis (518) ran with the pack Saturday during the Class 3 boys race at the state cross country meet in Jefferson City, Mo.

The Bulldogs, last year's Class 2 champion, held their ownin a faster field in Class 3.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A step up to Class 3 in cross country did not seem to slow down Notre Dame, which finished third in the boys race Saturday at the state meet at the Oak Hills Golf Center.

Nationally-ranked Potosi cruised to the title with 16 points, West Plains was second with 115 and Notre Dame had 142 points. Branson rounded out the top four with 160 points.

This was the fourth straight top-four finish for Notre Dame, which won the Class 2 state title last year.

"It's an honor to run against these teams that beat us," Notre Dame coach Bill Davis said. "We really thought we had a chance to run right with West Plains. Last year, we didn't even mention them. They were too good, out of our league. This year, with them coming to our place, we realized we could run with them."

Notre Dame sophomore Dillon Klaffer led the Bulldogs in 12th. Fellow sophomore Logan Davis was right behind in 16th. Davis was also all-state last year.

For Klaffer, Saturday's meet was the culmination of an up-and-down season. Klaffer actually started the season outside the top seven after having a poor intrasquad meet. As the season went along, Klaffer worked his way into the varsity group and improved 35 spots from his performance in the Class 2 meet last year.

"At first I was kind of mad I had to run JV, but I knew I could run through it," Klaffer said. "It was kind of nice to get first place a couple of meets."

Throughout Saturday's race Klaffer and Davis were running side-by-side, with Klaffer pulling away over the end. The two sophomores finished 8 seconds apart.

"Logan, he does a lot for me during the race," Klaffer said. "He's always talking to me. He tells me when I'm running too fast and to take it easy. He's a big reason why I've done so good."

Added Logan Davis: "Me and Dillon really pushed each other during the race. It helps a lot having someone there from your team."

Potosi had the top three finishers and put all five scorers in the top eight. Phillip Palomino was West Plains' top finisher in 11th. The Zizzers did their damage with their middle runners, finishing 43rd, 44th and 45th with their Nos. 2 through 4 runners.

Neil Kanneberg was 39th for the Bulldogs, but after Kanneberg, Notre Dame's No. 4 (junior Ben Beussink) and No. 5 (freshman Wynn McClellan) finished 74th and 84th, respectively.

Davis said a difference in race pace means more of his runners will have to get into the 16-minute range. Klaffer and Davis had better times than Matt Pfau's 17:18 time that was good for fourth in Class 2 last year.

"The move up has been tough, but it's been better for us," Bill Davis said. "We realize now 16 is something we have to do. We've had three run 16's this year. We feel very confident for next year."

Notre Dame could return its top five runners for next season.

"At the beginning of the year, I was upset we moved up [in class], but it made us face better competition," Logan Davis said. "That's going to be good for us.

"Next year we hope to be better," he added. "We're shooting for first place next year. That will start in the summer, and hopefully all the summer work will add up to a first-place trophy."

Central's all-staters

Central sophomores Brittany Moreland and Veronica Schabbing both earned all-state honors in the Class 4 girls race Saturday.

Moreland, an all-state runner last year as a sophomore, finished eight in 19:31.67. Last year Moreland finished 16th.

Schabbing, also making her second appearance at the state meet, squeezed into the all-state group in 25th. Schabbing finished less than a second ahead of the next finisher.

"We felt like we hit a home run today," Central coach Mark Hahn said. "Before you come here, in the back of your mind you figure what would be OK, what would be good and what would be pie in the sky. We feel like we got the last one.

"Both girls ran so well today. They competed the whole way and ran so intelligently. All the things we talked about [Friday] when we covered the course they executed to a tee."

Schabbing finished 112th last year and dropped more than 2 minutes off her time. Moreland dropped nearly 20 seconds off her time from last year.

"They both improved so much since last year," Hahn said. "They're both such hard workers and great kids. That bodes well for the future."

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