This Saturday will be a special one for Neosho cross country runner Chance Burr.

This Saturday will be a special one for Neosho cross country runner Chance Burr.

A sophomore, Burr will compete for the first time in his career at the MSHSAA Cross Country Championships at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City, Mo., after qualifying with a 14th place finish at the Class 4, Sectional 3 Qualifying Meet at Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton on Saturday.

Burr was the only Wildcat to qualify for state, doing so in the boys’ 5K with a time of 16:12 — a personal best. Teammate Cole Bishop, a senior captain and an unsung leader for the team, missed the cut with a 73rd place run in 18:14. Only the top 30 runners qualify for state.

The boys alternates in the 5K race were: Tyler Burr 19:24; Trenton Cook 19:56; Jacob Lett 19:57 and Adam England 20:27. No places or team scores were given for the alternates.

A pair of Lady Wildcats narrowly missed qualifying for state in their 5K, as seniors Amber Bates took 45th with a time of 20:55 and Sydney Anderson finished 54th in 21:15.

“Chance followed his race plan and ran a personal best,” Wildcats coach Tom Thorne said. “He was not beaten by anyone at the meet from the district other than those who finished ahead of him last week. Chance, naturally, is excited to be able to attend the state championships after being close last year.

“This year the girls race was dominated by the north district ladies and several girls from the south who had previously attended state championships. Sydney was a two time all district runner as well as Amber. Amber qualified for the state meet in 2012.”

The team also held its annual cross country awards reception last Wednesday. The following awards were presented: Thomas Vernon (Boys Most Improved), Kalena Hansen (Girls Most Improved), Tyler Burr (Boys Rookie of the Year), Morganne Bishop (Girls Rookie of the Year), Chance Burr (Boys MVP), Amber Bates (Girls MVP), Cole Bishop (Honorary boys captain), Sydnie Anderson (Honorary girls captain).

The team also announced 2013 letter winners. Seniors Kris Avendano (third year), Cole Bishop (third) and Niko Russell (second) joined juniors Carter Hickman (third), Thomas Vernon (second), Adam England (second), Cameron Langley (second), Kobi Miller (third), Jordan Wirth (second year provisional). Sophomores Chance Burr (second), Jacob Lett (first year provisional) and Brad Jordan (first year provisional) also won, as did freshmen Trenton Cook (first year provisional), Joby Paul (first), Tyler Burr (first), Christian King (first year provisional), Grayson Lamp (first year provisional) and Brandon Dugan (first year provisional).

Girls’ awards went to seniors Sydney Anderson (third) and Amber Bates (third). Freshman winners were Regan Rogers (first), Anne Vernon (first), Katelyn Lowe (first) and Morganne Bishop (first).