JEFFERSON CITY — He thrust his fists into the air as he crossed the finish line, grinning as the race officials handed him his official place card. No. 1.
At the state cross country meet on Saturday, Hickman junior Tim Cornell finished in 16 minutes, 1.33 seconds to win the Class 4 boys’ race.
“There’s just so much adrenaline,” Cornell said. “It’s just a sigh of relief when you’re done, and I was just so happy.”
With 1,000 yards to go, Cornell was even with Parkway Central’s Billy Bell. Neither could establish a lead until they rounded the final curve of the course and began the final stretch uphill. Cornell sprinted around the curve, leaving Bell behind, to win the race by 12 seconds.
“That last 1,000 yards is agonizing,” Cornell said, “because you don’t know what’s coming behind you.”
Said Hickman coach Steve Kissane: “We knew if he was close at the turn, it would take a lot to hold him back.”
Chaminade’s Mark Buha passed Bell, who nearly collapsed before the finish line. Buha finished in 16:13.24, and Bell in 16:14.21.
Solid placement for Kewpies
The Kewpies finished 13th of 16 teams with 314 points. Senior Alex Sable-Smith finished 30th in 16:54.65 and narrowly missed earning a medal, which go to the top 25.
Cornell, who won the Sectional 3 meet Nov. 1, said that through the race, he tried to focus on the specific runners around him and not the race.
“The hardest thing is realizing that you could stay with these guys,” Cornell said. “There’s a ton of great runners in the state, and putting yourself in that category is really hard to accept.”
Liberty takes honors
Liberty won the boys’ title with 63 points. West Plains, which won the previous three years, placed second with 81. Blue Springs was third (128) and Lee’s Summit was fourth (170).
Hickman girls place solidly
The Hickman girls’ team placed 11th with 278 points. Junior Brianne Gallagher earned a medal at 25th place in 19:54.29.
“That was very satisfying for her,” Kissane said. “We’re so proud of her and all the girls.”
On the downhill stretch leading to the finish, another runner passed her. Realizing that she had fallen from the top 25, Gallagher pushed herself around the curve, trying to make up another spot.
“That scared me half to death, but luckily I had enough to catch another girl on the finish and make it,” Gallagher said.
West Plains girls win again
West Plains won the girls’ title for the second consecutive year with 27 points. Fort Zumwalt South earned second (106), Marquette was third (114) and Blue Springs placed fourth (146).
Rock Bridge’s Jimmy Keown, a junior, placed 65th in 17:22.58. Senior Brian Cooksey was 85th in 17:36.21.
West Platte senior Daniel Moore won the Class 1 boys’ race in 17:13.28, leading his team to win with 141 points. Linn won the girls’ team title (82) and Stoutland junior Jamie Vest won the individual in 20:22.61.
Herculaneum won the Class 2 boys’ race. Dusty Kime, a Monett senior, won in 16:45.27. Lutheran junior Amber Warren won the girls’ race in 19:01.34. St. Mary’s won the team title (107).
Potosi senior Kyle Davis won the Class 3 race in 16:25.55. Potosi won the boys’ title with 55 and Warrensburg won the girls with 75. Anna Florzak, a sophomore at Notre Dame de Sion, won in 19:40.58.