Maryville cross country had perhaps its best showing of the year at the Midland Empire Conference Championship Meet Oct. 18 in Savannah, finishing the day with eight All-MEC runners.
The Spoofhound boys turned in a dominating performance, placing four runners in the top five and taking home the MEC championship.
Among those four were sophomore Garrett Dumke, juniors Zach Kizer and Chase Sims, and freshman Cale Sterling. Dumke took home first place at the meet, finishing with a time of 17:38.9, with Kizer and Sims finishing third and fourth respectively and Sterling finishing in fifth.
The boys ran away with the meet, handling the competition without much resistance to take home the MEC crown for the first time since 2016.
“We did very well,” Kizer said. “We got first by quite a bit and our main goal was just to go out there and beat Savannah, and we did that pretty easily. We put four in the top five.”
Coach Rodney Bade, who is in his fifth year at the helm of the cross country squad, was impressed with how well his team performed due to the limited number of meets the team has competed in this year.
“I thought we ran really well,” Bade said. “We’ve had some rained out meets, so we didn’t have very many races under our belt; we hadn’t raced in over two weeks.”
However, that did not stop the ‘Hounds from shaking off the rust and putting on a strong performance, something Bade had no doubt about going into the meet.
“We had good workouts the two weeks before, really good workouts as a team,” Bade said. “I really didn’t have any significant concerns. I knew if we got out and ran well we would place well.”
The ‘Hounds did just that, not only on the boys side, but the girls as well, who took home second place in the MEC for the second straight year, edging out rival Cameron by a single point. This was the goal coming into the meet, something junior Amy Feuerbacher said the team was ecstatic about accomplishing.
“We were excited because we beat Cameron by a point and that was our goal,” Feuerbacher said. “We knew we weren’t going to get first, but second place is really good for us.”
On top of finishing second in conference, the girls squad also managed to bring home four individual medals at the meet. Medal recipients for the ‘Hounds included junior Laura Feuerbacher in third with a time of 22:44.1, junior Piper Zarbano in eighth, Amy Feuerbacher in ninth and freshman Brooklyn Holtman in 12th.
Both the boys and the girls will now look ahead to the MSHSAA Class 3 District 8 Championship Meet Oct. 27 in Maryville. Bade says it is going to take a lot of focus and effort heading into districts.
“It’s going to take a lot,” Bade said. “It’s going to take some really strong races from our kids, and it’s going to take them, you know, not just racing within themselves, but really also paying attention to who’s around them. Sometimes we don’t always focus on that, we focus on how did you do individually, how do you feel. Districts comes down to who can you beat.”