It may seem that Mya Trober just suddenly burst onto the girls cross country scene. Blue Springs South coach Ryan Unruh would beg to differ.

True, Trober had only won one race before the Suburban Big Six Championships meet, and that was way back at the beginning of the season. But even then, Unruh knew he had something special on his hands – he just wasn’t ready to share it yet.

“Before conference, I saw two or three weeks in advance she was going to be at that level,” Unruh said. “I work out with her and I know what she’s doing and what she’s capable of, and I knew it was going to come out at either conference or district. And it just happened to be conference.”

Trober won the conference race, and then went on to runner-up finishes in the district, sectional and Class 4 state meets. That string of success made Trober one of the top runners in the state, and it’s also made her The Examiner’s 2019 Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Trober began her sophomore year under wraps mainly by design. While Unruh knew by the time she was “an eighth or ninth grader” that Trober could be special, he didn’t want to push her development.

But after the Big Six meet at Lee’s Summit North, Trober would be a secret no more. Not after coming back from a minute behind the lead group to win the 5-kilometer race in 18 minutes, 57.20 seconds, besting runners from Class 4 state champion Lee’s Summit West in the process.

“I think after conference, definitely I was like, ‘OK I can do this.’” Trober said. “We started getting a little more serious since we were entering the state series and we started working harder.”

Trobrer followed her Big Six victory with runner-up finishes in the Class 4 District 7 (18:35.7), sectional (19:10.20) and Class 4 state race on the new Gans Creek course in Columbia (18:13.0). In all three races, Trober finished behind Carolyn Ford of Columbia Rock Bridge. Ford won the first two going away; by state, Trober was only 5.6 seconds behind her.

“I think I just found myself wanting to work harder and be up there with them,” Trober said. “I think I was just like I can do a lot more than I thought that I could.”

Trober’s accomplishments didn’t end at state. On Nov. 16, she triumphed over 200 girls from five states in the Nike Cross Nationals Midwest Regional in Terre Haute, Ind. Her winning time of 19:04.2 in the girls freshman/sophomore was 20 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

Trober is a secret no more. Which is just fine with Unruh.

“Personality-wise, leadership qualities, she’s the total package,” Unruh said. “We’re really excited to work with her again, for sure.”