Scott City's Essner to run at Southeast

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Essner (Stephanie)

One of the area's fastest high school athletes will take her considerable speed to Southeast Missouri State.

Stephanie Essner, a Scott City senior, recently signed a letter of intent with the Southeast track and field program.

"I'm really excited," Essner said. "I can't wait to run there."

Essner is the two-time defending Class 2 state champion in the 400 meters. She just missed out on a state-record time last season, winning in 56.73 seconds. The record is 56.61.

Essner said not breaking the record gives her something extra to shoot for as she attempts to three-peat this spring.

"I definitely want to get that for sure," she said. "Coming so close, it gives me some fire for this year."

Essner placed third in the 200 meters and seventh in the 100 meters at the 2009 state meet. She also played a major role on the Scott City volleyball team that won the 2009 state title and was a top basketball player for the Rams.

Essner said she also was recruited by Missouri and Kansas, taking official visits to those two Big 12 Conference schools along with Southeast.

"It kind of came down to Mizzou and SEMO," Essner said. "I just thought SEMO was the best place for me."

Southeast coach Eric Crumpecker is pleased Essner picked the Redhawks.

"We're just thrilled to have her," Crumpecker said. "She's having a great high school career and I know she'll run fast her senior year.

"It's nice to keep somebody that good at home. We're really excited."

Southeast track and field has had good luck with local products in the past, with several currently in the program. Among this year's top performers for the entire program are Tyler Terry from Central and Rachel Kahle from Jackson.

"We've got a lot of good ones from the area over the years," Crumpecker said. "It's always good to get some of the best athletes from right around here."

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