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Central runners win district titles
Cole Bradley and Veronica Schabbing placed first in the Class 4 District 1 meet.
Saturday's Class 4 District 1 cross country meet at Jackson City Park included some surprises for Central.
The Central girls placed first in their division -- as expected -- but had to overcome a last-minute illness to hang on for a one-point win over Lindbergh.
The Tigers boys, however, surprisingly made it into the top four to qualify for secional thanks to the front-running effort of senior Cole Bradley, who won the boys race in 17 minutes, 19 seconds.
"That's probably his first win ever in any race," Central coach Mark Hahn said. "There was a lot of 'Where did that guy come from?' from the other coaches. He definitely wasn't on anybody's radar screeen, including ours. We knew he'd be up there but it was a nice surprise."
Jackson also was able to advance both of its boys and girls teams despite not having its top runners for both teams. The Indians were one spot behind Central in the boys race, finishing third. The Jackson girls grabbed fourth spot in the district field for the final team qualifying spot.
The top 30 individuals also advance to Saturday's Class 4 sectional at Jefferson Barracks in hopes of reaching the state meet the following weekend in Jefferson City.
The Central girls have been the favorites for a district title and state berth since winning the Hancock Invitational for the first time earlier this season. But it wasn't so easy, as they scored 49 points to Lindbergh's 50.
No. 4 runner Mary Dohogne told Hahn seven minutes before the race that she was sick.
"We pulled her right there and replaced her with another girl," Hahn said. "It was good to see the girls pull through without her. It may serve us well down the road.
"[Lessley] Dennington stepped it up big time for us to make it happen."
Dennington, a freshman, finished fourth on the team and 17th overall in 21:18.
Central, which won its sixth district title in the last eight years after not winning last year, was led again by juniors Veronica Schabbing and Brittany Moreland. Schabbing won the race in 19:40, and Moreland was second, 6 seconds back. Senior Tiffany Mead finished sixth in 20:23.
Jackson's girls also were down a key runner Saturday, top runner Amy Sterling, while fellow senior Beth Barton was returning from an ankle sprain and finished about a minute behind her normal time, coach Andrea Talley said.
Sophomore Jordan Whitener led the Indians with an 11th-place finish in 20:54. Freshman Tori Parry was 21st, and Barton was 24th.
"For them to still qualify showed their strength," Talley said.
The Jackson boys were without junior Greg Gibson, a runner-up finisher in the district last year en route to qualifying for state. He had finished 10th last week at the SEMO Conference meet but a hip injury kept him from running Saturday.
That helped open the door for Bradley, who had finished eighth last week at the SEMO meet.
Bradley finished ahead of Lindbergh's Mike Syrett by 5 seconds on Saturday.
"It wasn't all that close," Hahn said. "He had that under control. He's come on strong throughout the season, and he continued to improve and peaked at the right time today."
Central finished with 89 points to Lindbergh's 51 and just ahead of Jackson's 92.
"Nobody had us getting out of this district," Hahn said. "I thought if we ran real well, we might be able to sneak in at No. 4.
Following Bradley were Jordan Pope in 17th, Roy Leighton in 18th and Eric Schott in 21st. Collin Summers rounded out the team scoring in 32nd.
Jackson's Cody Green, a junior, was eighth overall in 17:45. He was followed by junior Dustin Spooler in 14th, junior Jared Foust in 19th, junior Caleb Statler in 24th and sophomore Ben Cahill in 27th.
"It was a day of mixed emotion," Talley said. "You look back and say what could have been. It's hard not to feel like that.
"Under the cirumcustance, the kids really pulled together and ran well."
Class 4 District 1
at Jackson City Park
Team -- Lindbergh 51, Central 89, Jackson 92, Seckman 105, Vianney 108, Oakville 121, Cedar Hill Northwest 137, Fox 148.
Central -- 1. Cole Bradley 17:19, 17. Jordan Pope 18:12, 18. Roy Leighton 18:15, 21. Eric Schott 18:21, 32. Collin Summers 18:51, 39. Shawn Owens 19:03, 53. Alex Crawford 19:53.
Jackson -- 8. Cody Green 17:45, 14. Dustin Spooler 18:05, 19. Jared Foust 18:18, 24. Caleb Statler 18:26, 27. Ben Cahill 18:31, 36. Chris Hurst 18:55, 40. Perry Hazelwood 19:05.
Team -- Central 49, Lindbergh 50, Cor Jesu 99, Jackson 113, Fox 121, Cedar Hill Northwest 143, Seckman 163, Oakville 180.
Central -- 1. Veronica Schabbing 19:40, 2. Brittany Moreland 19:46, 6. Tiffany Mead 20:23, 17. Lessley Dennington 21:18, 23. Rachel Burchyett 21:38, 32. Audrey Westrich 23:01, 47. Jessie Hahn, 24:36.
Jackson -- 11. Jordan Whitener 20:54, 21. Tori Parry 21:32, 24. Beth Barton 21:46, 27. Amber Crites 22:00, 30. Casey Hatton 20:06, 40. Nicole Steele 23:52, 55. Kellie King 26:17.