Notre Dame edges Festus for second place

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Class 3: The Bulldogs boys team earned another trip to Jefferson City.

POTOSI, Mo. -- Saturday was about survival for the Notre Dame cross country team.

The Bulldogs survived, using their depth to outrun Festus by six points for the second state-qualifying spot in the Class 3 District 1 meet at Potosi City Park. Now, they can set their sights on a fifth consecutive top-four state finish.

Defending state champion Potosi won the meet with 36 points with a 1-2-3 finish. Notre Dame tallied 60, and Festus, which had beaten the Bulldogs at the Hancock Invitational and more recently at the Potosi Invitational, scored 66.

"At the mile, I think we were getting beat," Notre Dame coach Bill Davis said. "The nice thing about cross country is that it's a 3-mile race. I told our kids we had to run hard that second mile and use our conditioning. We ran hard in mile 2."

Notre Dame had three finishers in the top 15 -- Logan Davis in sixth, Wynn McClellan in 12th and Dillon Klaffer in 14th.

"I had one of my strongest kicks to beat a Festus guy at the finish," Davis said. "I knew I had to run up front because we had to beat Festus."

Even with three district medalists across the finish line, the Bulldogs still trailed Festus in the scoring.

But then the wave of blue shirts -- make that white jerseys -- turned the tide.

"I positioned myself about 400 meters out from the finish, and at that point, I knew," Davis said. "Logan and Wynn had already gone by, and we had three guys pretty much boom-boom-boom ahead of their fourth guy."

Following Klaffer were seniors Ben Beussink (16th) and Neil Kanneberg (18th) with Festus' third runner in between and its fourth runner just behind.

"We just wanted to run as a group and we knew we could get it done," Klaffer said.

Festus' fifth runner came in 22nd overall, behind Notre Dame's sixth man, sophomore Ryan Johnson, who was 23rd overall.

"We brought Ryan up from the JV, where he won the conference championship, and he stepped up today," Bill Davis said. "I think he's got more in there somewhere.

"We've had some kids who work hard over the summer, and they kind of come out of the woodwork. I'm sure Festus probably wondered about Ryan, 'Who is this kid?'"

That's if the Tigers weren't first wondering who the team in the white was.

Notre Dame switched uniforms as part of the mental game.

"Anything to try to distract them," coach Davis said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

He also wanted to get into his own runners' minds.

"This is a new us," coach Davis said. "They beat us here in Potosi, and we were not too pleased."

Saturday, the Bulldogs were kind of pleased with their times. Survival was the main thing.

"We had some kids that didn't run as well as they wanted to today," coach Davis said. "If we're running on all cylinders, I'd like to see what we can do at state."

Notre Dame, the state champion in Class 2 to cap a three-year run of state trophies in that division, finished third behind Potosi and West Plains last year in its first run in Class 3.

McClellan would like to see another state trophy.

"I want to beat West Plains, and I really want to beat Potosi," he said. "I think we can if we run really well. They're a good team."

Other results

Montana Giesler was Perryville's only entry in the meet, finishing 21st in the boys race.

Notre Dame's girls finished fifth, with Ste. Genevieve and Festus advancing.

Victoria Pfau finished 13th to earn a spot in the state meet Saturday in Jefferson City. Jessica Banda was two spots out of a state berth in 17th.

"We're glad to get Pfau out and disappointed that we weren't able to get Banda through," coach Davis said. "It is such a tough district. There are a lot of outstanding girls that did not get through."

Ste. Genevieve placed first, and Festus, paced by overall winner Alyssa Allison, was second.

BOYS

Team scores -- Potosi 36, Notre Dame 60, Festus 66, Ste. Genevieve 94, Farmington 120, Hillsboro 153, North County 158.

Local individuals

Notre Dame -- 6, Logan Davis, 16:56; 12, Wynn McClellan, 17:25; 14, Dillon Klaffer, 17:29; 16, Ben Beussink, 17:31; 18, Neil Kanneberg, 17:41; 23, Ryan Johnson, 18:04; 29, Matt Reinagel, 18:20.

Perryville -- 21, Montana Giesler, 18:06.


GIRLS

Team scores -- Ste. Genevieve 31, Festus 45, De Soto 94, Hillsboro 111, Notre Dame 119, Farmington 139, North County 176.

Local individuals

Notre Dame -- 13, Victoria Pfau, 21:03; 17, Jessica Banda, 21:58; 32, Emily Messmer, 22:53; 36, Jessica Triller, 23:17; 39, Tara Grojean, 23:52; 41, Jessica Branden, 24:06; 48, Lauren Castleman, 25:16.

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