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Scott City's Shemonia settles for second at state cross country meet
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Scott City junior Brandon Shemonia came up just a little short for the second year in a row.
Shemonia took second place in the Class 2 state cross country meet Saturday at Oak Hill Golf Center, finishing with a time of 16 minutes, 17.40 seconds, 10 seconds behind first-place finisher senior Drew Keefer from Kansas City St. Pius.
Shemonia also was the runner-up last year, then with a time of 17:28 and 13 seconds behind then-junior Caleb Sutton Jr. of Arcadia Valley.
No matter his finishing times or to whom he lost, Shemonia still has one more goal to accomplish before his high school career is finished -- win a state title.
"It would make my high school career," Shemonia said. "I've been second two years in a row and it's been pretty heartbreaking, even though I'm happy with what I did and the guys who beat me were pretty good."
Shemonia may not have reached his desired destination Saturday, but he made strides toward it. Apart from shaving off 1 minute, 10 seconds from his personal best on the course, he's getting more comfortable with being in the state meet.
"It's a lot less nervewracking," Shemonia said. "I'm starting to know the course better, knowing where to make a move, and it's a lot easier to strategize."
The difference between finishing first and second for Shemonia may have come down to his legs. Shemonia could feel a bit of fatigue set in after feeling fine during the first mile.
"I felt fine upper body-wise," Shemonia said. "My breathing was fine the whole way. I could feel my legs getting heavier coming up to the second mile."
As for what he can do to make the next step toward becoming a state champion, Shemonia didn't hesitate to mention working harder. Logging miles in the summer and hitting his training regimen hard has Shemonia eyeing a possible state-record time at next year's state meet.
Having a healthy work ethic is fine for Scott City coach Travis Schiwitz, but he doesn't want his standout runner to sap his energy too early.
"Maybe just up [the preseason training] a little bit, but not too much because you don't want to come into the season peaked out or anything like that," said Schiwitz, whose team finished 11th with 245 points.
Schiwitz said he didn't envision Shemonia's improvement at the state meet stopping with his new personal-record time.
"That's a pretty big jump, but I could see him getting a little bit better next year," Schiwitz said.
Shemonia's senior year may be his best opportunity to earn the state title. This year's champion will have graduated and Shemonia beat the third-place finisher by nearly 20 seconds. He was the only non-senior to finish in the top five and beat the next junior by 35 seconds.
But as for Saturday, Shemonia was left with another second-place medal and goals for next year.
"He'll take it, and I guarantee you he'll work harder for it next year," Schiwitz said.