As she pushed into her final mile on a chilly Saturday morning, Mya Trober didn’t have to dig too deep for a source of inspiration.
It was all around her in her Blue Springs South teammates.
The thought of her fellow Jaguars, Trober said, sparked her to catch the lead pack of runners and kick to a surprising going-away victory in the Suburban Big Six Cross Country Championships at Lee’s Summit North.
Trober, who trailed the leading foursome by almost a minute at one point, finished the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race in 18 minutes, 57.20 seconds, nearly 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Madison Hulsey of Lee’s Summit West.
“I wanted to try my hardest and just go all out because this is the last year with the seniors on our team,” Trober said. “And they inspire me so much. I just love running for them and I just want to make every moment the best.”
This was certainly the best moment for Trober, a sophomore who hadn’t won a race since the Jaguars’ first meet. She worked to stay with the lead foursome of Hulsey, fellow Titan Makayla Clark, Annie McCord of Lee’s Summit North and Marissa Dick of Raymore-Peculiar, but she found herself well back midway through the race.
But by the time she reached the final mile, Trober eased past the lead pack. She was all alone when she approached the finish line.
“I think the adrenaline definitely got to me,” Trober said. “I was like, ‘I’m up here. What am I doing up here?’ And the adrenaline kicked in and I was like, ‘Well let’s just do this.’”
Blue Springs South girls coach Ryan Unruh wasn’t completely surprised to see Trober up front. Unruh, in fact, had seen this coming as Trober kept closing the gap on the top runners during the season.
“She’s been putting the work in during the week and we know Mya is a talented runner and the preparation’s meeting that,” Unruh said. “I expected her to be near the front, but I didn’t expect her to look that good and that comfortable and that strong. Obviously I’m really proud of her.”
Trober’s victory led Blue Springs South to a second-place finish in the girls team standings behind defending champ Lee’s Summit West. The Jaguars, who scored 51 points to the Titans’ 33, had four other runners in the top 20: Lauren Low (sixth), Paige Fallis (11th), Caitlin Grover (16th) and Mckenna Ledgerwood (17th).
A good day for Trober and the teammates who inspired her.
“Our girls are really connected,” Unruh said. “And we tell them while you’re out there you may feel alone but you’re running for someone else. So they did a good job of that today.”
Blue Springs, with senior Alyna Thibault finishing ninth and freshman I’yana Foster 10th, placed third with 85 points. Lee’s Summit North, with McCord taking fourth, was fifth with 122 points.
Photo finish for boys
The finish to the boys race wasn’t so clear-cut. Brock Wooderson, in fact, had no idea if he had won or lost even after making his way to the Blue Springs team tent.
Wooderson, a junior, led from the start until Ray-Pec’s Braden Zaner caught him before the finishing stretch. They ran shoulder-to-shoulder over the final 100 yards to the finish line.
Officially, Zaner finished in 16:01.10; Wooderson in 16:01.40.
“They said the other kid won but I’m biased, so I have to disagree,” Blue Springs boys coach Frank Gallick said. “I kind of thought he out-leaned him, but they have chips on their shoes and they can go off of those and that’s probably what they did.”
Wooderson opened up a commanding gap over Zaner and Dillon Grover of Blue Springs South before they started reeling in Wooderson. Both were on his heels by the last half mile.
“I made a decision to just take it out from the start and try to put a good gap on them,” Wooderson said. “I heard them coming a little bit but I put a couple of surges on them to make them work for it.”
Wooderson couldn’t shake off Zaner, and the two battled back and forth until the finish. Gallick, who saw Wooderson survive a similar finish early in the season, expected him to pull it out again.
“That was a great race for him,” Gallick said. “He’s had a great year and has really stepped up and ran well. He may not have won that won today but I know it’s really going to help him down the road.”
Grover, who finished seven seconds behind Zaner and Wooderson, helped South (39) take second to Ray-Pec (33) in the boys team standings. The Jaguars also had Jack Klassen place fourth, Alex Jackson sixth, Zachary Carter 12th and Jackson Lile 14th.
Blue Springs placed fourth with 104 points. Lee’s Summit North, led by Carson Clancy’s 10th-place finish, was sixth with 150 points.