Sister plans to give up cross country

Monday, November 10, 2008
ANDREW JANSEN ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian
Central's Victoria Schabbing tries to chase down Jefferson City's Torie Even during Saturday's Class 4 state cross country meet.

JEFFERSON CITY -- A successful first season of cross country did not seem to be enough to convince Victoria Schabbing that she should return for another.

"No way," she said Saturday after the state cross country meet. "Just softball for me next year."

Schabbing, a junior, pulled double duty for Central this year. She played shortstop for the Central softball team and was convinced to join her sister, senior Veronica Schabbing, for the cross country season.

"I still like track better," said Victoria Schabbing, who was part of Central's seventh-place 3,200-meter relay team at the state track meet last season and also ran the 1,600 and 3,200. "This was a good experience. It's just mental. It is a little harder to keep it going for 3.1 miles."

Even harder was trying to balance two sports.

ANDREW JANSEN ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian
Central's Roy Leighton runs during Saturday's Class 4 state cross country meet.

"It was really tough," she said. "I was stressed out some nights. It was just not the fact I had two practices in one day. I felt like the coaches were pulling me in different directions, and I didn't know what to do."

Central cross country coach Mark Hahn was prepared to make his pitch to keep Victoria Schabbing involved in cross country. He was impressed with her 20 minute 34 second run at the state meet, good for 64th in the Class 4 girls race, and the work she put in during the season.

"After softball, she would go home and run," Hahn said. "Or she would run before school some mornings. I won't forget one morning back in the middle of the season at 5:15 in the pouring rain and dark, we did a workout on the track. That's dedication right there.

"You would expect somebody not to progress like the rest of those on the team under those circumstances, but she did a good job. She ran a good race at sectional and she ran an exceptional race today."

Veronica Schabbing concluded her senior season with a seventh-place finish and all-state honors for the third straight year, as Central finished third as a team.

LEFT: Saxony Lutheran's Sam Kluesner and Advance's Grant Gray run together during Saturday's Class 1 state cross country meet in Jefferson City.
RIGHT: Saxony Lutheran's Kristen Dippold competes during Saturday's Class 1 race.

From listening to Victoria, one might have thought part of her role on the team was to irritate her older sister.

"We had a couple of cat fights in practice," Victoria Schabbing said. "We're like water and oil. We just don't mix. At home, it's just as bad. We're always in fights, but when it comes down to it, we love each other."

Other future stars

* Notre Dame will try to extend its streak of state trophies for top-four finishes in the boys division next year behind Wynn McClellan, who continued his climb up the ranks with a ninth-place finish in Class 3 on Saturday.

Notre Dame coach Bill Davis also likes the upside of junior Ryan Johnson, who just missed a state medal by finishing 28th.

ANDREW JANSEN ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian
Saxony Lutheran's Kristen Dippold competes during Saturday's Class 1 state cross country meet in Jefferson City.

"He's going to be a good one," Notre Dame coach Bill Davis. "He's ready to go to work now. He asked, 'What am I going to do Monday?' He's come a long way since his freshman year."

Senior Dillon Klaffer, who hopes to run in college next year, said after the meet that made him part of four top-four finishes, "I'm hoping more guys can say that as the years go along because this program has been building since I was a freshman. The future looks good."

* Central brought two sophomores to state in the boys competition: Roy Leighton finished 53rd and Eric Schott was 121st. The Tigers also expect to add Billy Leighton, who has set state records in his age divisions and won the SEMO Conference junior high meet last month.

* The Oak Ridge boys lineup that placed eighth in the Class 1 standings featured no seniors.

* Saxony Lutheran's five-girl lineup that placed seventh in the Class 1 standings included three sophomores and two freshmen.

"I think we're going to keep getting better throughout the years," Saxony sophomore Kristen Dippold said.

Saxony's sibling act

While the Schabbing sisters ran together Saturday, Dippold said her all-state run was due in large part to her sister Deanna, who now attends Lambuth in Jackson, Tenn.

"In the very beginning, when I started running, she helped pace me," Kristen Dippold said. "During the summer, she makes me get up and go out and run with her. Over the phone, we talk about it."

Deanna Dippold, a four-year runner at Saxony, attended Saturday's meet.

"After the race, I just thanked her for getting it started for the girls," Saxony Lutheran coach Larry Cleair said. "She was a big factor in these girls running as well as they have this year."

Also in attendance was Brandon Etzold, the older brother of senior Andrew Etzold and a key member of the 2004 and 2005 state championship teams for Saxony.

Soccer at Saxony

Andrew Etzold is one of four Saxony runners who plays on the soccer team that won its first district title Friday night with a 2-0 win against Kennedy in the Class 1 District 1 tournament.

"I don't begrudge our kids the opportunity to do both, especially since they're able to do it at such a high level," said Cleair, the former athletic director at Saxony. "It's an opportunity they're never going to have again. They're only kids once."

It was cold

Being kids, many of the fans at the state meet ran around in shorts or with their bodies painted to support their teams.

The runners found the gusty wind, which seemed to blow colder as the day went along, to be an annoyance.

"I couldn't move my fingers at the end," Victoria Schabbing said. "I was almost in tears it hurt so bad. But it was worth it in the end."

Her sister, Veronica, said: "After the race, it kind of gave me a brain freeze. It was really cold, and I just wanted to get it done."

Said Saxony senior Ross Gage: "I think my whole face is frozen."

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