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Notre Dame runners shine during own invitational meet
Part of coach Bill Davis' strategy for Notre Dame's girls cross country team is to let senior Breanna Conklin run fast from the beginning of a race and go for the win.
That plan hit a snag Saturday at the Notre Dame Invitational when Herculaneum's Kaitlyn Fischer broke the course record with a time of 18 minutes, 12 seconds.
"She pretty well tries to attack the race," Davis said. "She had two really good people to try to catch today. The Fischer girl is probably going to be the state champion in Class 2. [Saga] Barzowski from Arcadia Valley is the defending state champion in Class 2. Just to run close to them was basically an honor."
Conklin finished in fourth place with a time of 20:07.96. Barzowski finished second and Tabitha Griffith of Farmington was third. Conklin was in third place after completing one mile, but fell to fourth by the second mile.
"I knew I wanted to stay kind of close to Saga, but I figured her and Kaitlyn would go out really fast," Conklin said. "I was trying to not go really fast for my first mile, but I looked at the clock and it was 5:45, and usually I'm like six [minutes] or a little slower than that. I was like ‘Hopefully I didn't go out too fast.'"
Notre Dame took fourth place in the team competition won by Herculaneum.
Sophomore Adilyn Mueller of the Bulldogs finished ninth in 21:01.87. All six of Notre Dame's runners placed in the top 50.
"I'm just going to turn Breanna loose and just say ‘You go for it, see how far up the pack you can get.' And then for the other girls, pretty well hope they can get in the top 20 or 25," Davis said of the ideal race for the girls team.
Davis doesn't have the same outlook for Notre Dame's boys team since it is deeper from top to bottom.
"The ideal race for me would be our top guys running about 16:50," Davis said. "Our next four guys are going to be no slower than 17:20. That gives us about a 30-second spread from one to five."
Notre Dame's boys took first place Saturday and had all seven runners finish in the top 25.
Junior Michael Nelson was the highest-finishing Bulldog in fourth place with a personal record time of 16:41.53. Junior Jacob Meadors was seventh (17:03.01).
"This race was special because it was our seniors' last time racing at home, and we wanted a strong finish because it's the home race," Nelson said.
Davis said that the coaching staff didn't talk to the boys team about winning the race and emphasized that the strategy of running in pack would be essential to the squad's success.
"I always tell them ‘Gaps kill us,'" Davis said. "When you get gaps between your guys, somebody else's guys are filling them, so we have to learn to pack a little better. That's our biggest problem right now with both teams, but I think any team in the state would talk that way. Sometimes it can be taken care of in practice.
"It doesn't have to be that you are running fast, but that you are running together. I think the more you run together, the more you sense that ‘We have to do that even when we're racing.'"
The other top-10 finisher from the area was Central sophomore Maddy McDonald, who placed fifth in the girls division (20:46.29).
Oak Ridge senior Ethan Seyer was 11th in the boys race (17:17.54).
Team Scores -- 1. Notre Dame 59, 2. Herculaneum 76, 3. Mehlville 98, 4. Poplar Bluff 107, 5. Graves County 111, 6. Farmington 167, 7. Oak Ridge 189, 8. Arcadia Valley 210, 9. Central 214, 10. St. Vincent 216, 11. Advance 288, 12. Saxony Lutheran 315.
Notre Dame -- 4. Michael Nelson 16:41.53, 7. Jacob Meadors 17:03.01, 15. Michael Peters 17:32.48, 16. Cole Ross 17:35.94, 17. Jacob Cieslewicz 17:40.69.
Oak Ridge -- 11. Ethan Seyer 17:17.54, 24. Corvin Schoen 18:04.87, 35. Jake Legrand 18:28.17, 58. Austin Wunderlich 19:25.53, 64. Jacob Seabaugh 19:58.44.
Cape Central -- 26. Logan Wright 18:06.40, 40. Riley Duncan 18:35.80, 43. Hezekiah Wood 18:41.47, 47. Tim Heinsman 18:50.47, 62. Clayton Monia 19:46.24.
St. Vincent -- 27. Jon Meinhardt 18:14.48, 33. Isaac Bear 18:26.12, 47. Levi Krauss 18:46.95, 55. John Lipe 19:05.58, 58. Alex Lipe 19:46.04.
Advance -- 22. Braden Bien 18:02.53, 38. Curtis Gilliland 18:29.93, 83. Ben Trout 22:14.63, 85. Zachary Cato 22:45.12, 87. Austin Shaffer 23:48.58.
Saxony Lutheran -- 52. Aaron Koehler 18:52.89, 53. Brandon Fritsche 18:55.14, 78. Anthony Etzold 20:28.88, 79. Zachery Vogel 20:42.27, 81. Taylor Richmond 21:32.41.
Team Scores -- 1. Herculaneum 57, 2. Farmington 73, 3. Graves County 102, 4. Notre Dame 102, 5. Mehlville 107, 6. Arcadia Valley 120, 7. Central 150, 8. Poplar Bluff 152, 9. Saxony Lutheran 223.
Notre Dame -- 4. Breanna Conklin 20:07.96, 9. Adilyn Mueller 21:01.87, 13. Ali Norder 21:19.34, 34. Jordan Meadors 22:38.87, 48. Maddie Baumgart 23:49.14.
Cape Central -- 5. Maddy McDonald 20:46.29, 15. Haley White 21:22.90, 33. Bridget Trepasso 22:32.28, 54. Emily Weisenberger 24:07.00, 59. Megan Saylor 24:36.59.
Saxony Lutheran -- 43. Regan Obermann 23:33.57, 44. Rachael Gruenwald 23:34.58, 47. Breanne Etzold 23:48.24, 46. Kristen Gruenwald 24:04.20, 65. Dakota Werner 25:03.