Cape Central wins in photo finish

Sunday, October 21, 2001

JACKSON, Mo. -- Cape Central freshman Jennifer Pancoast ran the most impressive race of her young varsity cross country career Saturday.

And the Lady Tigers needed every single step to win the Class 4A, District 1 title at Jackson City Park.

Pancoast passed Jackson's Nicole Fadler just before the finish line to take fourth place in 20:54, one second ahead of Jackson's front-runner.

And Cape Central's girls ended up winning the meet on a tiebreaker over the Lady Indians as Central's sixth runner, Rachel Sprigg, finished 21st, six places ahead of Jackson's sixth runner, Ashley Meyr.

After the first count, Central won the race 64-65, but once the scores were adjusted (points by teams that had less than five runners were taken out) the two teams tied at 59.

"I told Jackson's coach that I hope we tie," said a grinning Cape Central coach Mark Hahn. "Because I knew the tiebreaker would go to us. That's the best thing about this race: every single runner contributed to the win."

Though Pancoast has run faster races, none were more clutch than this one.

"I've been really talking to myself about running for the team," Pancoast said. "I don't run for me, I run for the team. I didn't expect this at all."

Said Hahn, "She stepped up huge. And to be a freshman, this gives you an indication of what kind of competitor she is."

As for Fadler, it's hard to imagine an athlete being more disappointed with a fifth-place finish. A junior who won the SEMO Conference meet earlier this season, Fadler was running with shin splints and a bad case of running cramps.

"I'm pretty mad because we wanted to beat Cape," she said.

Still, Hadler and her Jackson teammates will have another shot as the top four teams and top 30 individuals advance to Saturday's sectional at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

As Jackson coach Andrea Talley pointed out, Jackson had plenty of other opportunities to move up spots and get that extra point it needed.

"They all ran well and we're OK with it because we're going on," said Talley. "This just teaches us a lesson that all seven runners are important."

Central and Jackson both had several finish in the top 30. The top 15 were given all-district honors. The Lady Tigers' top 30 runners were Pancoast, Kim Pancoast (12th), Holly Schaffer (14th), Cassie Kipper (16th), Whitney Pingel (18th), Sprigg (21st) and Mallory Wilson (22nd). Jackson's top 30 included Fadler, Carol Koenig (6th), Rachel Lowes (13th), Krista Mouser (17th), Jenny Nagel (24th), Meyr (27th) and Rachel Schmidt (29th). Details can be found on scoreboard on Page 4.

Boys teams fail to qualify

Neither Jackson nor Cape Central's boys teams qualified for sectional, but there were a handful of individuals who made the cut.

Jackson's Josh Minson led the local boys, taking seventh in 17:34.

Jake Knepp paced Cape Central with a 10th-place finish in 17:48.

Other qualifiers included Central's Josh Revelle (13th) and Mike Gerber (24th); and Jackson's T.J. Humphrey (20th), Joe Golightly (26th) and Jody Ressel (30th).

"We were only four (individual) places away from getting our boys to sectionals," Talley said. "That's the closest we've been in a long time."

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