Two years in existence…two years as district champs. That’s the story of the Jefferson girls cross country team. For the second straight year, the Blue Jays came out on top of the Class 2, District 2 cross country meet held at Spanish Lake Park in St. Louis.
The girls blasted through the competition, compiling just 29 points. Second place Collegiate School of Medicine had 82 points. The one-two punch of Jordan and Anna Heacock paced the Blue Jays. Jordan won the race with a time of 20:13.35. Her sister, Anna, ran a 20:47.77, good for second place.
“This whole race didn’t even feel like I was racing,” said Jordan. “I’m ready to race and get a PR next week.” Anna agreed. “The race was easily the most enjoyable cross country race I’ve ever had,” she said. “A large majority of the race could not be seen by spectators, which I really liked. I used that as motivation, so when I got to a spot where my parents could see me, they would be surprised. The last mile was challenging, but I feel I did a better job at keeping my pace consistent. I was very satisfied with my race, and finishing first was our goal. I was really happy to have been a part of that. I really think we are capable of giving the teams at state a run for their money.”
Not to be overlooked, junior Cheney Ervin took fourth place with a time of 21:13.75. So the Blue Jays had three of the top four finishers. Two other runners who scored for Jefferson included freshman Chelsea Badger in 13th with a time of 22:01.90, and Josephine Mijarez, a junior, in 17th place with a time of 23:02.43. Badger said she’s looking forward to next week. ““This wasn’t my best race, but I’m excited to run at state.”
Two other Jefferson runners also did well but didn’t figure in the scoring. Freshman Hannah Wigger was right behind Mijarez in 18th place clocking in at 23:16.70. Her time beat her personal best this season by 53 seconds. Freshman Katie Deevers placed 25th and earned her varsity shirt with a time of 24:44.74. “I’m really proud of getting my varsity shirt,” Deevers said. “My goal next week is to get in the 23s.”
Jefferson coaches were ecstatic with the team’s performance. “I don’t even know what to say,” said head coach Mollie Rhodes. “I’m just happy. We are state ready.” Coach Morgan Grither says she’s hearing good things from other coaches. “Nothing makes you more proud as a coach than overhearing other coaches talk about how great your team is performing. We are very excited to see what PRs our girls will accomplish at state and what place they will finish.”
The state meet is on Saturday in Jefferson City.
Meanwhile, on the boys side, the Blue Jays took fifth place at the meet with 106 points. Maplewood-Richmond Heights won the event with 61 points. The top finisher was senior Collin Gosnell. He placed 17th with a time of 19:18.31. He said this season has been a learning experience. “With it being my first season of cross country, there were a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “But I feel that I started to figure out how to actually run a 5k towards the end. I felt like all and all it was my strongest race, and was happy with how I finished. Even though I didn’t end up making it to state, I improved by over a minute and ended my first/last season of cross country on a good note. Cross country was fun, but I’m still more of an open 800, open 400 kind of guy. I’m really excited for what we can do with the boys track team this year.”
Sophomore Bradley Glass was the next runner in for the Jays, finishing in 20th with a time of 19:22.35. Jeremiah Chipps, a freshman, came in 24th, crossing the finish line in 19:27.80. The final two point scorers for Jefferson were Christian Stark and Jackson Hueter. Stark, a sophomore, was 32nd with a time of 20:16.77, while Hueter, a freshman, was 33rd, clocking in at 20:18.00. Freshman Chris Coaley also ran, placing 47th in 21;14.82, and sophomore Matthew Glass took 50th with a time of 21:43.24.
Photos courtesy of Jefferson XC twitter page