An injured Maryville cross country team arrived in Smithville last Saturday with its future hanging in the balance. The Spoofhounds had been decimated by injuries all season, but four runners still managed to qualify for the Class 3 State meet.
Senior Caleb Feuerbacher comfortably finished first at the Class 3 District 8 meet for the second-consecutive year. With a time of 16:48, Feuerbacher beat the next closest competitor by 15 seconds. Senior Jon Holtman also qualified for the boys, finishing the race with a time of 18:12, good for 10th overall.
On the girls side, sophomores Amy and Laura Feuerbacher both ran their way to the state meet, finishing seventh and 15th respectively.
Given all the injuries and roster movement throughout the season, coach Rodney Bade was pleased with Maryville’s performance at districts.
“We’ve had some injuries this year, so our team dynamic changed quite a bit over the last two weeks,” Bade said. “So taking four (to state) is very positive.”
A few weeks ago, the thought of taking the whole boys team to state was not out of the question.
“Earlier in the season we were looking more significantly into taking teams (to state),” Bade said. “But you know, stuff happens.”
Three of the four state qualifiers for Maryville hail from the same household. Caleb, Amy, and Laura Feuerbacher are siblings, the latter two being fraternal twins. For Bade, coaching the Feuerbacher’s has been a learning experience.
“There’s some times where I have to just step back and let them go, because it’s what they would act like at home,” Bade said. “It’s non-running related typically. I’ve had to just kinda learn and let them work it out on their own.”
As the qualifying Spoofhounds prepare for their trip to Jefferson City, all eyes will be on the eldest Feuerbacher, per usual. Caleb, who has verbally committed to run at the University of Missouri next year, has a knack for the spotlight.
“I just really tried to enjoy the moment. As I came through the finishing stretch, I did some celebrating,” Feuerbacher said. “I just really wanted to take it in; this is the last time I’ll get to really dominate in cross country for a while.”
The senior has been known to celebrate on his way to the finish line, usually not close enough to this nearest opponent for anyone to take offense. His district dominance was on full-display by his wide 15-second victory, yet coach Bade implied that Feuerbacher wasn’t even going full throttle.
“Quite frankly, he probably cruised that last mile and just relaxed,” Bade said. “That sounds braggy, but it’s reality. He just enjoyed that last bit, which, why not? He won’t ever be in that position again, so why not enjoy it?”
Feuerbacher is hoping to earn a medal this Saturday at state after finishing 18th overall a year ago.
“I think top five is definitely not out of the question.” Feuerbacher said. “That’s my goal.”
The Spoofhounds compete in the Class 3 State meet this Saturday Nov. 4 at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.