State recap: St. Teresa’s Academy finishes 2nd; Liberty North boys place 3rd

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Amelia Arrieta capped her lone high school cross country season with a third-place finish, but she was only thinking about her team minutes before the race.

The St. Teresa’s Academy senior sprinted down the home stretch of the Gans Creek Cross Country course Friday and placed third overall in the Class 5 state meet. Then, she watched her teammates come across the finish line one by one, as she watched results roll in on the big scoreboards.

Arrieta kept a close eye on the screen as she learned where her team finished in the standings. The Stars finished as the Class 5 state runner-up to Blue Springs South.

They scored 117 points – 28 behind Blue Springs South – beating Cor Jesu Academy by eight points for second place. It was the Stars’ lone runner-up finish at the state meet.

They’ve won a pair of state championships, but those happened more than 25 years ago. A year ago, St. Teresa’s Academy placed third as a team in Class 4, five points behind Cor Jesu Academy for second place.

“I’m incredibly proud of the girls and the way they ran,” STA coach Karen Moran said. “We knew we had a chance to compete for the state title, but there were a lot of other excellent teams out there and on any given day, it could have any of us. I’m very happy for Blue Springs South.”

The Stars were led by a pair of all-state runners. Arrieta and fellow senior Sydney Swan were state medalists at their final meet. Arrieta, who ran only a single season of cross country after running track for the first time last spring, finished third overall.

“I’m happy with my race, but I’m glad our team did as well as we did,” Arrieta said. “At the beginning, I was just trying to stay with the pack. At the end, I knew it wasn’t just for me, it was for them, so I knew I had to go.”

St Teresa’s Academy senior Amelia Arrieta, center, makes a move down the start area during the Class 5 state meet. Arrieta finished third overall in the race, helping the Stars finish second as a team. (Photo by Jimmy Gillispie)

Her 5K time was 17:57.2 – less than a second behind Eureka senior Leah Kleekamp’s runner-up finish. Arrieta’s time was 33 seconds slower than when she won the Gans Creek Classic on the same course on Sept. 25.

But, she’s competed only twice since then as she’s battled some issues. Arrieta finished second in the KC Classic a week later before taking four weeks off prior to the District 4 meet.

“She started off in the lead pack, but she was quite a ways back,” Moran said. “She was making up ground. She had been battling a little bit of an IT band lately. Last week, she needed to get her confidence back after not racing for four weeks, but she did great.”

Swan finished 25th, claiming the last state medal. Her time was 18:55.3. A year ago, she ran 19:10 and placed eighth in Class 4. She was 0.1 from not earning a state medal, but her kick down the home stretch helped Swan her first individual state medal.

Also competing for the Stars were sophomore Hailey Scheuer (47), senior Maddie Weiford (50), sophomore Lillian Grever (54), sophomore Gracie Jacobs (99) and senior Lilly Hupke (154).

Ray-Pec girls finish 5th

The Raymore-Peculiar girls team was one place shy of earning a state trophy. The Panthers score 161, losing to Rock Bridge by 22 points for the fourth-place trophy, but three points ahead of Lafayette (Wildwood) for fifth place.

Sophomore Ashlyn Smith and junior Alexis Borum led the Panthers with all-state performances. They finished 20th and 21st, respectively, running 18:43.1 and 18:49.7.

Raymore-Peculiar sophomore Ashlyn Smith (890) sprints down the home stretch of the Gans Creek cross country course at the Class 5 state meet Friday. (Photo by Jimmy Gillispie)

The Liberty girls team placed seventh with 192 points. The Blue Jays were led by senior Grayce Kilkenny, who finished 33rd. Freshman Ella Brown (37) and senior Amanda Seggerman (41) finished less than 10 seconds later.

Liberty North and Lee’s Summit finished 12th and 14th as a team, respectively. Lee’s Summit senior Makayla Clark was a state medalist, placing 18th in her final cross country as a Tiger.

Liberty North boys earn state trophy

Led by a pair of top-three finishers, the Liberty North boys cross country team brought home a third-place trophy from the Class 5 meet Friday.

The Eagles scored 117 points, just edging out St. Louis University High for third place. Kickapoo won the meet with 80, while Rock Bridge finished runner-up with 85.

Liberty North was the first team with two runners across the finish line. Senior Ethan Lee led the Eagles with a runner-up finish, running the 5K course in a time of 14:59.7.

Lee’s time was a significant personal record and about 40 seconds faster than he ran last year, when he placed third overall. 

Liberty North senior Ethan Lee, right, and sophomore Sage Wilde run down the home stretch Friday at the Class 5 boys state meet. (Photo by Jimmy Gillispie)

Just seven seconds behind Lee was his teammate – sophomore Sage Wild – in third place. Wilde ran a few seconds faster than he did twice earlier this season, and improved 67 spots from his freshman year at the state meet.

Other area schools with full teams at the Class 5 boys state meet were Lee’s Summit (7), Rockhurst (8), Raymore-Peculiar (9), Lee’s Summit North (11) and Blue Springs South (12). 

Ray-Pec senior Luke Voelker was the top finisher after the Liberty pair. Voelker placed fifth overall, finishing in a time of 15:22.

Freshman Kinstler leads Kearney to third place

Kearney freshman Alexandria Kinstler capped a great season with a third-place finish as an individual and a third-place state team trophy.

Kinstler lost only to a pair of twins from West Plains. Seniors Jordan and Brayden Kantola finished first and second, respectively, in the Class 4 girls race. Kinstler set a new personal record when she crossed the finish line in a time of 18:36.8.

Kearney freshman Alexandria Kinstler (369) runs with the lead pack of competitors Friday at the Class 4 state meet. (Photo by Jimmy Gillispie)

Two other Kearney runners also earned all-state medals. Junior Abby Elam and sophomore Heidi Adams placed 23rd and 25th, respectively, for the Bulldogs.

As a team, Kearney finished third overall with 122 points. West Plains won with 59, and Farmington scored 97 to place second. None of Kearney’s seven runners were seniors, so the Bulldogs should come back next year reloaded aiming for a state title.

West Plains had five seniors running, and Farmington had four. 

– story by Jimmy Gillispie

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