As thrilled as she was about earning another trip to state, Mya Trober found something even more thrilling: getting to go there with the rest of her Blue Springs South cross country team.
For the sixth consecutive season, Blue Springs South will have a girls team in the Class 4 state cross country meet after placing second in the Class 4 sectional meet Saturday in Liberty.
“It’s super exciting,” Trober said. “We just run for each other, and that’s what gets us through everything.”
The one-for-all, all-for-one approach that powered Blue Springs South through its regular season is paying off in the postseason as well. It helped Trober as she ran to the Suburban Big Six championship, and it helped the Jaguars push through districts even with one of its top runners missing.
And it really helped them Saturday as they vied with powerhouses Columbia Rock Bridge and Liberty for one of the two team qualifying spots for Saturday’s state meet. Rock Bridge took first with 45 points, and the Jaguars beat out Liberty 75-85 for the second spot.
“They are having such great seasons and they’re such great programs,” Blue Springs South girls coach Ryan Unruh said of Rock Bridge and Liberty. “Honestly, we didn’t worry about them. We just thought if we run well, the rest will take care of itself.”
Trober ran well enough on the undulating 5-kilometer Wildflower Cross Country Course near Liberty North High School to place second overall in 19 minutes, 10.20 seconds. Trober and the rest of the field were well behind Rock Bridge’s Carolyn Ford, who dominated from start to finish just as she did in last week’s Class 4 District 7 meet at Lee’s Summit North to win in 18:49.20.
“I was definitely happy with second,” said Trober, who ran with Lee’s Summit North’s Annie McCord before pulling away before the finish. “If I would have got third and Annie would have got second, I would have been super happy for her.”
Ford is only a freshman, but she’s considered one of the favorites in the Class 4 girls race, which will take place Saturday on the brand new Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia. Unruh is certain Trober will be a contender too.
“She’s put herself through her training and talent in the conversation for a high finish and I just tell her to dream big,” Unruh said. “Why not run well at state? Why not mix it up with the big kids? Just dream big and we’ll get there.”
Even if Blue Springs South hadn’t qualified as a team, it still would have had a full field there after placing its top five among the 30 individuals who advance. Lauren Low also cracked the top 10 to finish eighth overall, Caitlin Glover took 15th, McKenna Ledgerwood 17th and Paige Fallis, who missed districts with an ankle injury, was 26th.
“This was definitely the most difficult race we faced this season,” Trober said. “But we just keep each other in the back of our minds and that’s what gets us through everything.”
Blue Springs South’s boys had hoped to contend for a team berth too but finished fifth with 103 points. The Jaguars advanced three to state, led by Dillon Glover’s 12th-place finish. Jack Klassen was 25th and Alex Jackson 30th.
“We had hoped for better,” Jaguars boys coach Kyle Plummer said. “We’re excited for those three individuals we got out, but we really hoped to go as a team.”
Royce Fisher of Grain Valley couldn’t have hoped for more in his fourth and final sectional meet. After failing to advance in his first three seasons, Fisher finally made it as senior with a ninth-place finish.
“I’ve been working for it for three years and it’s finally here,” said Fisher, who has qualified for state in track. “This year we worked on my training so that I would start a little slower and work my way up instead of starting out fast.”
Fisher also worked on his confidence, which Grain Valley coach Nick Small said made the biggest difference from his earlier seasons. Small said something clicked in Fisher during his junior year that led to this season’s success.
“He’s worked hard; I can’t say enough about that kid,” Small said. “He cracked through, and he did it in a big way.”
Fisher is one of three Grain Valley runners to advance, the most in the school’s history. Eagles girl team members Valerie Holcomb and Ella Casey also advanced.
Blue Springs junior Brock Wooderson will be the Wildcats’ lone representative in the state boys race. Wooderson finished second to Rock Bridge’s Matthew Hauser for the second straight week. Wooderson finished in 16:19.20.
The Blue Springs girls, who finished fifth, had two runners move on from the top 10: I’yanna Foster (seventh) and Alyna Thibault (ninth).
Lee’s Summit North qualified two other runners besides McCord. Lily Madden was 28th in the girls race and Carson Clancy was 19th in the boys race.
Fort Osage will be represented by Michael Reddick, who was 21st in the boys race.