Two years, two trips to state.
The Saxony Lutheran boys cross country team has been perfect at district meets since the program's inception last year.
The Crusaders had three of the top four finishers Saturday and placed all five in the top 12 to post a team score of 25 points in the Class 1 District 1 meet at Jackson City Park.
Sophomore Brandon Etzold placed first for Saxony Lutheran, which was fourth in the state last year and returns to Jefferson City this Saturday as the probable favorite. Etzold, who covered the course in 18 minutes and 10 seconds, symbolizes the rapid growth of a program which may become a perennial state power.
"I didn't even know what boys cross country was," Etzold said. "I had never heard of it before last year."
Etzold, according to Crusaders coach Larry Cleair, was the fourth or fifth runner on the team in the first meet of 2003. This year, Etzold, senior Trey Maevers and sophomore Peter Winningham have been the leading trio for Saxony.
"Any one of them could win any race," Cleair said.
Winningham was 29 seconds behind Etzold on Saturday and Maevers, battling illness, was 10 seconds behind that.
"They're my biggest competition this year," Etzold said.
Advance's Cory Roper actually was the second-place finisher in 18:29, just ahead of Winningham.
Valley Park was the second-place team with 49 points, grabbing the second team qualifying spot for state. Oak Ridge was third with 75 points.
The top 15 individuals qualified for state. Other than the Saxony trio and Roper, that group included Meadow Heights' Joel Hahs (fifth), Delta's Kevin Bartels (eighth), Oak Ridge's Dustin Morrison (13th) and Austin Morrison (15th), and Saxony freshman Max Wieser (11th) and Kory Mueller (12th).
Meadow Heights 4 for 4
Valley Park won the girls team title with Metro second.
Meadow Heights advanced all of its runners to the state meet but the foursome wasn't enough to score as a team.
Senior Carly Smith (eighth), Whitney Breitenstein (10th) and freshmen Abi Whissore (12th) and Jenna Hahs (15th) all will be going to state.
Oak Ridge finished third in the girls team standings, just seven points out of a state berth.
Oak Ridge's Sam Zoellner finished fourth in 23:55 to lead local runners.
Saxony Lutheran freshman Deanna Dippold finished fifth in 24:13.
Delta's Jessica Drew also will be going to state following an 11th-place finish.
Class 1 District 1
Saturday at Jackson City Park
Team scores -- Saxony Lutheran 25, Valley Park 49, Oak Ridge 75, Advance 97, Metro 125.
Winner -- Brandon Etzold, Saxony Lutheran, 18:10
Saxony -- 1, Etzold; 3, Peter Winningham, 18:29; 4, Trey Maevers, 18:39; 11, Max Wieser, 19:39; 12, Kory Mueller, 19:43; 16, Grant Lehmann, 20:11; 18, Alex Jauch, 20:27.
Oak Ridge -- 13, Dustin Owens, 19:51; 15, Austin Morrison, 20:05; 19, Caleb Schoen, 20:37; 22, Ricky Wilkins, 20:47; 25, Jared Schoen, 20:58.
Advance -- 2, Cody Roper, 18:29; 17, Robert Maddox, 20:13; 31, Cory Roper, 21:53; 33, Rusty Hendricks, 22:14; 34, Bryant Hawkins, 22:52; 38, Jared Lacy, 23:23.
Delta -- 8, Kevin Bartles, 18:58; 24, Amon Seabaugh, 20:55; 37, Alex Parks, 23:08; 42, Dustin Anglin, 24:43.
Team scores -- Valley Park 27, Metro 53, Oak Ridge 60, Delta 80.
Winner -- Meagan Hudson, Crystal City, 22:10.
Oak Ridge -- 4, Sam Zoellner, 23:55; 19, Amanda Watson, 26:52; 20, Tiffany Myers, 27:21; 22, Daniella DosSantos, 27:43; 29, Janet Olivas,
Delta -- 11, Jessica Drew, 25:21; 21, Jessica Kidd, 27:21; 30, Amanda Drew, 32:56; 31, Sarah Blattel, 33:32; 32, Susannah Green, 33:33.
Meadow Heights -- 8, Carly Smith, 24:59; 10, Whitney Breitenstein, 25:15; 12, Abi Whissore, 25:30; 15, Jenna Hahs, 26;16.
Saxony -- 5, Deanna Dippold, 24:13; 26, Staci Floyd, 30:56; 34, Cassandra Mirly, 36:56.
Advance -- 25, Erin Van Metre, 30:51.