The suspense continued even after the race ended Saturday at Bethel Park.
The Hickman boys’ cross country team pestered race officials, waiting to hear the final team standings of the Section 3 meet. In the end, it got the news it wanted. The Kewpies finished fourth, qualifying to race at the state meet Saturday in Jefferson City. The Hickman girls’ team also qualified by finishing third.
The top four teams advance to the state meet.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” junior Tim Cornell said.
Cornell won the boys’ race in 15 minutes, 38.85 seconds.
“Tim’s got tremendous heart,” Hickman coach Steve Kissane said. “He’s always been that kind of competitor, and he backs up his intensity with sound training habits.”
After finishing, the Kewpies were not sure where they had finished.
“It was a giant question mark,” Alex Sable-Smith said. “We’ve been running so well all year, and then with Kurt (Schauwecker) and (Matt) Richmond down, it was just a big question mark.”
Usually one of the team’s better runners, a stress fracture in Schauwecker’s right foot hampered him, and he finished 60th. Richmond had been sick for the previous two weeks and was unable to finish.
“He had the flu the week of districts,” Kissane said. “Then he developed a nasty cough and has been in bed all week.”
Despite these setbacks, the Kewpies finished with 118 points, beating fifth-place Parkview by 21. West Plains won with 43 points, and Fort Zumwalt South earned second with 62. Third-place Jefferson City had 70.
The Hickman girls had 110 points, beating fourth-place Jefferson City by a point. West Plains won with 19 points, and Fort Zumwalt South was second with 71.
Brianne Gallagher was 12th in 19:04.01, and Janelle Cordia placed 20th, with Carrie Hargrove in 26th and Kendall Foss in 28th. Aileen Gallagher finished 34th.
“On the girls’ side, we’ve had such a solid team effort, that to just name one person would do such a disservice to them all,” Kissane said.
Two Rock Bridge runners qualified to race at the state meet. Brian Cooksey placed 15th in 16:19.82, and Jimmy Keown placed 23rd, finishing nine seconds after Cooksey.
The top 30 individuals advanced to the state meet.
“I feel relieved,” Cooksey said. “The main thing was just to make it there.”
Rock Bridge coach Neal Blackburn described seeing Cooksey and Keown at the 3-mile mark as they headed into the finish line and he realized that they would qualify for state.
“I was just screaming and beating the ground and yelling, ‘Finish, finish, finish,’” Blackburn said. “It’s one of those moments of pride because you’re so happy they reached their goal.”
Ryan Deason finished 35th for Rock Bridge in 16:54.15.
The two Bruins girls’ runners at the sectional did not qualify for the state meet. Anne Case-Halferty finished 32nd in 19:58.54. Senior Sarah Phillips, who has competed in the state meet for the past three years, finished 46th in 20:35.93.
“(Phillips) was frustrated,” Blackburn said. “She was very disappointed, but it was still her best race of the season.”