Photo Courtesy of Jefferson Cross Country
The Jefferson boys cross country has been building the last few years, and that building process continues to show results. On Saturday at Spanish Lake Park, the Blue Jays qualified two runners for the state meet this Saturday, and the team finished in fifth place, just five points out of fourth place. Jeremiah Chipps and CJ Johnson will be making the trip to Columbia on Saturday. Here’s how head coach Mollie Rhodes saw the day develop on Saturday.
“We knew going into this race that a few boys had a shot at going to state, but they would have to run their best race of the season to do it. It was a long week leading up to districts. It has been several years since a boy had qualified for state for us, I think it has been four years, and I was hoping that we could break that streak this year.”
“The race started off great. The weather, while most people would complain that it was cold, was perfect for fast running. This race was also held on a fairly flat course which means speed is king. At the one mile, one runner, Jerry Chipps was in the medals, and I had two others, CJ Johnson and Bradley Glass, that were just outside of the medals. The bad part about the Spanish Lake course is that it was the last time I saw them until about 800m left in the race. This course literally runs around a lake, so it is almost impossible to go out very far and get back for the finish…it was a nerve wracking wait.”
“As runners started to come out of the woods, I was standing with parents, and we were counting, just hoping to see some of our boys come out in the top 15, or at least close enough to have a chance. Sure enough, Jerry came out in tenth place, and CJ in 12th. They would both hold onto those spots as they crossed the finish line and qualified for the state meet. They both ran big overall PRs to put themselves in the qualifying positions.”
“Several other boys had great races as well. Matthew Glass and Jacob Holdinghausen both ran overall PRs, and have set themselves up for a great season next year. Several other boys (Christian Stark, Jack Hueter, and Bradley Glass), ran very close to their season best as well. Overall, the boys finished fifth at districts out of ten teams, and I am proud of all the hard work they put in this year. We don’t lose anyone to graduation this year, so I can see a very bright future for this team next year if they choose to put the work in between now and then. I am proud of the boys and all the fight that they showed this season, and I can’t wait to see two members of this team compete at state this weekend on the brand new course.”
Here’s how the team fared on Saturday:
18:46.98–Jeremiah Chipps, 10th place. “I felt great throughout the whole race,” Chipps said. “Nothing was really hurting that bad, even though I was running faster than I ever have, and I’m really grateful for that. Overall, our team did great. Almost everyone on the team ran the best they have all season. We may not have placed as high as we may have wanted, but we had a lot of self accomplishment.”
18:55.80–CJ Johnson, 12th place. “I was a little sad we are not going to be able to take the team to state,” Johnson admitted. “But I am very happy about my race. When I passed the two mile marker, Coach said I was 13th, and I could not believe it. I had a good PR and a good race. All week, Coach was telling us to make state, we had to get under 19. I did not have much confidence going into the race. I thought I would finish somewhere around the 19:20s, but I did better. I also want to thank Jerry and Bradley for pushing me all season.”
19:41.58–Bradley Glass, 26th place.
20:40.13 (season best)–Matthew Glass, 39th place.
20:56.53 (season best)–Jacob Holdinghausen, 42nd place.
21:04.37–Christian Stark, 44th place.
21:07.53–Jack Hueter, 46th place.
For a look at Saturday state meet schedule, follow this link: 2019 Missouri State Cross Country Meet Schedule