The City of Independence will have a new top high school girls cross country runner next year.
Though only because Hailey Alvis will have exhausted her eligibility.
For the third year in a row, Alvis, a Fort Osage senior, marks the city’s best girls cross country runner after she won the Independence City Championships Tuesday at Osage Trail Middle School.
Alvis broke the tape with a blazing time of 19:11, more than 16 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
More importantly to her, she led the Indians to their first girls title in a decade.
“It always feels good to come out with the win, especially three years in a row being the city champ,” Alvis said. “Mostly, this year my goal was to come out with the team championship because we haven’t done that in so long.”
Michael Reddick gave Fort Osage a sweep of the individual titles after leading the final four kilometers and winning the boys race in 17:17.
Reddick, who has broken onto the cross country scene as a sophomore, credits his offseason training to his success this fall.
“We have this thing called the 500-mile club, where you run 500 miles during the summer, and that was something I wanted to do and completed,” Reddick said. “I ran 6.2 miles every day and I’m definitely seeing a big improvement. I’m much faster than I was last year. It feels great to win this meet and to accomplish some of the goals I’ve set.”
Truman (40 points) topped William Chrisman by two points to win the boys title and end the Bears’ three-year reign.
Truman’s Marcus Thimesch (17:26.19) edged William Chrisman’s Aaron Nyaway (17:26.33) at the finish line for second place to lead the way for the Patriots.
“I felt good and was proud of myself to edge (Nyaway) out for second,” Thimesch said. “I feel like I ran really well. You come into the race with the mentality that no one is going to beat you, but (Reddick) ran a really good race. I ran my fastest race of the season, so I feel like I ran a pretty good race.”
Reclaiming the city title marked something the Patriots — who received a fifth-place finish from Hunter Donelson (17:45) — put a focus on.
“It was definitely a goal of ours from the beginning,” Truman coach Marcus Summers said. “It was something I put on the board for them. I was proud of our guys for the way they’ve trained to go get it. They know it’s not our ultimate goal, but it’s big for our guys. I’m glad to see them have success. They’re excited. I know (Wednesday) they’ll be ready to train, so that’s a good thing.”
Trey Dumas (17:40) of William Chrisman finished fourth to mark the boys’ other top-five finisher.
All five of Fort Osage’s girls scorers placed in the top 12 — including a fourth-place showing from Brooklyne Sederwall (21:16) — to help the Indians (36) beat runner-up Truman (51) by 15 points.
“Going into this season, we kind of had an idea that if there was a possibility to win the city meet, this would be the year to do it,” Fort Osage coach Chris Earley said. “This girls team is a tight-knit group. They have fun together, hang out together and are just a fun group to coach. A lot of them stepped up (Tuesday).”
Stacy Briggs’ second-place finish paced the Truman girls runner-up showing.
“I wanted to get first, obviously, but I feel really good about my second-place finish because I ran a really good time that’s much faster than what I’ve run this season,” Briggs said. “That helps me with confidence going into our upcoming meets.”
William Chrisman’s Lilly Conner-Urnise (21:15) and Kayli Perez (21:36) finished third and fifth, respectively, to finish out the girls top five.
But the day belonged to Alvis, who ran the fastest time of her career, and along with Briggs, finished well ahead of the rest of the field.
“My strategy was to not lead for the first mile, then after that I stayed with the boys,” said Alvis, who would have finished in the top 20 of the boys race. “I grouped with them and then ran to the end. The boys helped push my time. It’s harder to run by yourself so it was good to have them there to push.”
Added Earley: “Hailey ran a great race. She’s a great kid. She works hard in the classroom and it’s nice to cheer on athletes like her because they’re easy to coach and you don’t have drama.”