Maryville boys and girls cross country saw the 2018 seasons come to an end at the MSHSAA Class 3 District 8 Meet Oct. 27 at Donaldson-Westside Park in Maryville.
Coming off a dominant performance in the Midland Empire Conference Championship Meet Oct. 18, the boys fell short of the second place finish they needed to qualify for state, finishing eight points behind rival Pembroke Hill for the final qualifying spot.
“We ran about as good as we possibly could,” coach Rodney Bade said. “We just didn't get enough of our boys in front of their (Pembroke Hill's) runners, but we were right behind them for our three, four, five runners. Pembroke Hill ran really well.”
Although the team fell short, the ‘Hounds were able to qualify two individual runners for state competition, including sophomore Garrett Dumke and junior Zach Kizer, both first-time state qualifiers. Dumke, who is in his first season on the cross country squad, finished third in the meet with a time of 17:57.64, and impressed Bade with a strong kick in the last 500 meters.
“Garrett (Dumke) ran conservatively through the first half of the race and really started to push through the last mile,” Bade said. “He had a super strong kick over the last 500 meters to pass five or six runners to finish third. Garrett is super competitive and has that drive to do well.”
Dumke emphasized the thrill of getting the opportunity to run at the state level and credits his coach for helping him get to where he is now.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to be able to run with the greatest runners in the state,” Dumke said. “I am also very fortunate to have a coach like coach Bade. Being new to the sport and having a coach that has so much experience and running knowledge has helped me beyond belief.”
As for Kizer, who finished 10th with a time of 18:18.9, the goal throughout the season was to individually qualify. With the meet drawing to a close and an individual berth clinched with a finish, Kizer put the team above himself and picked up the pace to try and do his part to help his team qualify.
“Zach's goal all season was to be an individual state qualifier,” Bade said. “He also had a killer kick from about 500 out. He was truly racing for his team at the end because every place counts when you start calculating team scores. He could have just finished and would have still been in the top 15, but he really went for it and passed three or four at the end.”
On the girls’ side, the team finished fifth, failing to finish in the required top two to qualify as a squad. One individual qualifier emerged in the form of junior Laura Feuerbacher. With a 15th place finish and a time of 22:56.52, Feuerbacher successfully qualified for the third consecutive year with a solid but steady run.
“Laura (Feuerbacher) is now a three-time state qualifier, she did what she needed to do on Saturday to qualify,” Bade said. “She ran a good first mile and continued to pass people through the second mile to put her in the mix to be top 15.”
For Feuerbacher, it has become commonplace to run at the state level, but she knows there is room for improvement.
“Coach Bade has coached me all the way to state again, and I can’t be more grateful,” Feuerbacher said. “I can’t wait to improve even more.”