Scott City's Shemonia cruises to district cross country victory

Sunday, October 30, 2011
Scott City's Brandon Shemonia finishes first in the Class 2 District 1 cross country meet Saturday at Jackson City Park. Shemonia won in 16 minutes, 3.87 seconds. (Fred Lynch)

Scott City senior Brandon Shemonia started swinging his arms and jumping up and down as he and his teammates listened to their final instructions from their coach Saturday morning.

The arms still were swinging and he kept jumping during the pre-race instructions at the Class 2 District 1 cross country meet.

"I felt ready to go, ready to take off," he said. "I felt anxious."

Shemonia sat in the middle of the pack as the runners scaled the opening hill just past the starting line. He didn't stay there for long.

"The first 400, I like to take out easy," he said. "I don't want to take out too much energy at the start. So I like to sit back and pick people off until the 800. That's when I like to take over and set the pace for the race and kind of let people run my race and not have to run anybody else's."

Woodland's Kyle Davis, left, and Dakota Long compete in the Class 2 District 1 cross country meet Saturday at Jackson City Park.

Shemonia, who has finished second at the Class 2 state meet the last two years, eliminated any doubt early in Saturday's race.

"I would have liked to break 16 [minutes]," he said after finishing in 16 minutes, 3.87 seconds. "My last mile wasn't too strong, but I ran really well, I think."

Shemonia doesn't waste movement when he runs. His arms never flail as he pumps them to gain speed, and his long strides gobble up turf. He won Saturday's race by almost 45 seconds.

"Mentally, it makes you feel like you can slow down and ease off the pace," he said about the big lead. "It hurts pushing the pace. But you have to stay mentally focused on top of it. It really helps you to push yourself when no one is there, so when you get in a situation with someone there, you're not afraid to push. I'm used to setting the pace a lot."

Shemonia pointed both index fingers skyward after crossing the line. His breathing didn't sound labored, unlike the other runners who entered the exit chute.

"Just kind of getting used to going out and take the lead and be able to push the pace by myself and get mentally focused for next week," he said.

Shemonia did benefit from running the course earlier this season. He won the SEMO North Conference meet on the course despite making a couple wrong turns during that race.

"I knew the course a lot better this time, and they had some people pointing me the way," he said.

Shemonia's victory helped the Rams finish second with 49 points. Herculaneum won the district title with 24 points.

"For us, the big thing for here is the team going," Shemonia said. "We were hoping to sneak in past Herky, but they're too strong up front."

Eric Essner (ninth), Tyler Adams (10th), Luke Keesee (11th) and Jesse Perry (18th) rounded out the Rams' scoring. They will join Shemonia at the state meet because the top two teams qualify.

Saxony Lutheran senior Sam Breite earned his second trip to the state meet with a sixth-place finish.

"I felt really tired, but I really wanted to do my best for my coach," Breite said about Crusaders coach Larry Cleair. "He's a great guy."

Breite was 12th in last year's district meet, which was his first year of running cross country. He was excited to move up six spots in his senior campaign.

"I just started running for the first time last year," he said. "One of my good friends knew I was running every day, so he just said, 'Why don't you try cross country?' So I did. I love it so much."

Woodland junior Aaron Yount (14th) and Kelly senior Juan Campos (15th) also qualified for the state meet, which is scheduled for Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City, Mo.


Team -- 1. Herculaneum 24; 2. Scott City 49; 3. Arcadia Valley 97; 4. Woodland 104; 5. Saxony Lutheran 114; 6. Kelly 122; 7. St. Pius 162

Top 15 -- 1. Brandon Shemonia (SC) 16:03.87; 2. Jacob Coffman (H) 16:48.75; 3. Ryan Jackson (H) 17:21.18; 4. Drake Smelser (H) 17:33.13; 5. Zach Tedford (AV) 18:05.77; 6. Sam Breite (SL) 18:24.85; 7. Adam Maxwell (H) 18:30.40; 8. Austin Haas (H) 18:31.25; 9. Eric Essner (SC) 18:47.57; 10. Tyler Adams (SC) 18:50.53; 11. Luke Keesee (SC) 18:51.36; 12. Corey Francis (SP) 18:59.39; 13. Devin Asher (AV) 19:00.28; 14. Aaron Yount (W) 19:01.34; 15. Juan Campos (K) 19:03.89

Local top fives

Scott City -- 1. Brandon Shemonia 16:03.87; 9. Eric Essner 18:47.57; 10. Tyler Adams 18:50.53; 11. Luke Keesee 18:51.36; 18. Jesse Perry 19:11.92

Saxony Lutheran -- 6. Sam Breite 18:24.85; 17. Brandon Fritsche 19:11.46; 22. Aaron Koehler 19:38.54; 36. Anthony Etzold 20:41.62; 39. Zachery Vogel 20:52.70

Woodland -- 14. Aaron Yount 19:01.34; 16. Dakota Long 19:10.24; 20. Kyle Davis 19:32.08; 25. James Dowd 19:44.83; 31. Dalton McCormick 20:18.06

Kelly -- 15. Juan Campos 19:03.89; 21. Jerrod Lynn 19:36.49; 24. Josh Roberts 19:41.45; 29. Trey Walker 20:06.19; 38. Derrick Garner 20:52.13

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