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Pair of Hawks earn return trip to Jefferson City
Class 2: Kelly's Johnson and Kern qualify for the state meet.
ST. LOUIS -- Kelly junior Tara Johnson had one goal in mind at Saturday's Class 2 District 1 cross country meet at Jefferson Barracks Park in St. Louis County.
"I just wanted to break the Herculaneum pack," Johnson said. "Last year they had all of their runners finish in the front."
Johnson realized if she was able to accomplish that goal that she would be headed back to Jefferson City next weekend.
Principia senior Jackie West and Johnson both finished ahead of the fifth Herky runner. Johnson was sixth overall as she finished in 22 minutes, 17 seconds.
"This is a very, very tough course," said Johnson, who had finished 13th last season at districts. "I definitely did not run my best today but I guess it was good enough."
The season has been a challenging one for Johnson, who has no other girl teammate on the varsity squad.
"I practice by myself just about every day," Johnson said. "Adam Lofton is a volunteer assistant and he runs with me sometimes. He has been a big help."
Johnson looks to improve on last year's 68th-place finish at the state meet.
"I wanted to be in the top five today and just missed out," Johnson said. "I definitely want to be in the top 25 next weekend."
That would earn Johnson a medal and all-state recognition.
Herculaneum dominated the girls division as expected with four of the top five finishers, including champion Megan Arnold. Principia finished second to become the other district team qualifier. The top two teams and top 15 individuals from each district qualify for the state meet, which will be held Saturday in Jefferson City.
Senior Emily Jetton was the top Woodland finisher Saturday with a 21st-place finish.
Sophomore Cody Kern will join Johnson in Jefferson City on Saturday. He finished fourth in the boys race, running a 17:54.
"I died a little in the second mile today but I came back some at the end," said Kern, who like Johnson had finished 13th in the district meet last fall.
His goal is also very similar to Johnson's at state.
"I would like to be all-state," Kern said. "It would be even better if I finished in the top 15."
Kern had a similar run to Johnson at state last year, finishing 67th.
Kelly senior Mike Warren just missed out on making it to state, finishing 19th.
Woodland had three runners in the top 21 but none in the pivotal top 15. Senior Daniel Lewis was tops for Woodland in 17th place.
The team finish was the same for the boys as it was the girls with Herculaneum winning and Principia coming in second. Herculaneum sophomore Mason Alex won the boys event in 17:31.
Team scores -- Herculaneum 27; Principia 49; Hancock 96; Arcadia Valley 113; Kelly 115; Woodland 126; Dexter 202; Crystal City 208.
Local individual scores
Kelly -- 4. Cody Kern; 19. Mike Warren; 22. Blake Wade; 30. Sam Nelson; 41. Omar Campos.
Individual scores, Woodland -- 17. Daniel Lewis; 20. Corey Chapman; 21. Jody Scherer; 33. Timmothy Abner; 35. Ethan Lix.
Team scores -- Herculaneum 23; Principia 44; Dexter 62; Crystal City 108; Woodland 118.
Local individual scores
Woodland -- 21. Emily Jetton; 23. Taylor Steckman; 28. Tierney Vehrs; 31. Jodi Baker; 36. Sarah Lincoln.
Kelly -- 6. Tara Johnson.