Central girls run away to title

Friday, October 15, 2004

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Not everyone enjoyed the cold, wet weather Thursday.

But Central senior cross country runner Holly Shaffer thrived in it.

"I like the cold," Shaffer said after finishing second in the SEMO Conference meet at the Sikeston Sports Complex. "This is my weather. You don't get dehydrated in this weather."

Shaffer recorded a personal record time of 19 minutes, 37 seconds and finished 14 seconds behind teammate and classmate Jennifer Pancoast. Central junior Linnea Woldtvedt finished third in 20:16 to cap Central's 1-2-3 finish.

With Lizzy Alberson and Emily Ponder finishing seventh and eighth, Central walked away with the team title with 21 points.

Jackson, led by fourth-place finisher Rachel Schmidt (20:32) and fifth-place finisher Ashley Meyr (20:47), finished second with 53 points. Notre Dame was third with 88.

Poplar Bluff was nearly as dominant in the boys race, scoring 27 points to place first. Central was second with 50, Notre Dame third with 67 and Kelly fourth with 96.

But Shaffer and her teammates seemed to be the happiest about getting off the bus and stepping into a light drizzle with temperatures dropping into the 40s. The top trio -- all state qualifiers last year -- said it was the first time all year they'd run in such conditions.

"It's good weather to run in," said Pancoast, who won the conference meet in 2002 and 2003 as well. "It's fun to get muddy, and it's fun to get wet."

Added Woldtvedt: "The cold numbs your body and you can think about the competition."

About the only competition they had to think about Thursday was each other. That won't be the case Oct. 23 when Central competes in the nine-team Class 4 District 1 meet at Jackson City Park. That will be the first step in Central's attempt to qualify the whole team to state this year.

"We're working on keeping up with each other and running with each other," Pancoast said. "We're getting into the team mode."

Poplar Bluff showed its team strength with four of the top five boys. Only John Kipper cracked the Mules' hold on the top five by finishing second in 17:03, 34 seconds behind winner John-Mark Lewis.

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