On your mark, get set, go!
Thousands of Missouri high school students took to the new Gans Creek Cross Country Course Saturday to compete in the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia.
The surrounding areas were packed with students, friends and family as thousands made the trip to watch the action.
East Gans Road, Bristol Lake Parkway, Philips Park and Father Tolton were filled with cars with people taking to the surrounding fields to find parking. In some cases, fans walked a mile to watch the action. That’s how packed the Gans Creek Classic was.
Muddy tires and muddier feet were a common theme Saturday as a large rain storm from Friday night soaked the track and parking areas. Luckily, with an early start the runners were able to avoid any rain or storms that were forecast Saturday.
Saturday’s competition was part of a two-day grand opening of Gans Creek Park’s new cross country course. MU was home first on Friday.
The competition began at 8 a.m. Saturday with the White Division Girls Varsity 5K Race. The divisions were divided based on class/size of each school competing.
Isabella Ross of Moberly came in second place in the first race.
This was followed by the White Division Boys Varsity 5K Race.
Malik Stewart of Maplewood-Richmond Heights finished first with a time of 16:27.
Competition was stiff all day with over 3,000 athletes competing in the events.
The next set of runners took position to compete in the Blue Division Girls Varsity 5K Race.
Lutheran South’s Macy Schelp ran her way into first place with a time of 19:18. Centralia’s Jozelynn Bostick finished sixth.
In the Blue Division Boys Varsity 5K Race, it was tough sledding for Columbia’s Battle High School, which held “home field advantage” in Saturday’s action. Battle finished in the middle of the pack at 15th place. Micah Stevens posted Battle’s best time at 17:59.
It was Rock Bridge’s Carolyn Ford who would break the streak for the four local Columbia high schools (Rock Bridge, Hickman, Battle, and Father Tolton) and earn the first medal.
Ford put up a time of 18:40 to win the Gold Division Girls Varsity 5K Race 44 seconds clear of the second-place winner.
Things were tougher in the Gold Division Boys Varsity 5K Race for the Columbia high schools. Rock Bridge finished sixth as a team with Matthew Hauser coming in sixth place with a time of 16:13.
Hickman fell all the way to 26th place in the final event of the evening.
Saturday turned out to be an exciting day for the city of Columbia as the event proved to be a great way for students to meet their counterparts who attend schools hundreds of miles away.
Columbia Parks and Recreation and Columbia Public Schools are excited to host the Gans Creek Classic again next fall.