CASSVILLE — The East Newton Patriot boys cross country returned to the top of the Big 8 Conference after a seven-year absence.
East Newton ended Lamar’s seven-year reign by literally running away from the field — all five runners finished in the top 15 and it produced a nearly 70-point victory margin for the Patriots.
East Newton enjoyed a previous seven-year Big 8 reign from 2004 through 2010 and the Patriots are a rather young team this season with one upperclassman among their top seven runners and no seniors. Good times are here again for East Newton boys cross country.
Kelton Sorrell, a freshman, placed fourth to lead the Patriots and he recorded a time of 17 minutes, 12 seconds, then junior Jacob Bennion finished fifth in 17:12.60, freshman Gabe Bergen ninth in 17:57.30, freshman Garrett Downum 14th in 18:19.60, and sophomore Layton Earll 15th in 18:24.40.
Additionally, sophomore Marcus Shaeffer finished 23rd in 18:53.70 and Blayne Nunley 36th in 19:35.70.
McDonald County put three runners in the top 20 and four in the top 30 with junior David Lazalde 12th in 18:01.10, junior Garrett Spears 13th in 18:13.70, senior Bryce Berryhill 20th in 18:49.40, and junior Jackson Behm 29th in 19:12.40. Tyler Moritz, a junior, finished 73rd in 22:13.20, sophomore Justin Smith 82nd in 23:30.00, and Eli Jackson 85th in 24:14.20.
Seneca fell a runner short of qualifying for the team standings. Dakota Wilson led the Indians by finishing 38th in 20:02.90, while Ian Gayer took 47th in 20:33.50, Lukas Greene 65th in 21:20.20, and Josh Hicks 71st in 21:58.80.
Lamar junior Kolin Overstreet won the overall sweepstakes with a time of 16:33.20 and Logan-Rogersville standouts Jay Strasbaugh and Landon Hendrickson finished 2-3 with respective times of 16:44.10 and 16:51.70.
Nine of the top 10 finishers should return next season.
In the girls race, East Newton ran four freshmen and Laynee Casady matched fellow freshman Sorrell’s fourth place showing on the boys side. Casady crossed the finish line in 20:51.30.
Ella Rader finished 28th in 24:49, Jasmine Hill 41st in 25:59.40, and Sierra Martsolf 58th in 30:08.53.
McDonald County placed seventh in the team standings with 138 points, exactly 100 behind team champion Hollister, a Big 8 newcomer.
Kalyn Stetina, another strong freshman runner, led McDonald County in 14th in 23:26.20 and senior Natalie Staib finished 21st in 24:20.20, junior Addy Mick 40th in 25:57.70, sophomore Azlen Smith 49th in 26:56.90, and sophomore Brooklyn Winters 56th in 27:50.40.
Nevada junior Calli Beshore, meanwhile, won the individual crown with her time of 20:26.70.
East Newton, Seneca, and McDonald County all compete in upcoming district meets.
McDonald County travels to Raymore-Peculiar High and Peculiar for the Class 4, District 6 meet with Belton, Carl Junction, Carthage, Joplin, Lee’s Summit West, Neosho, the host school, Republic, Smith-Cotton, Warrensburg, Webb City, and Willard rounding out the field.
East Newton and Hollister travel to Hollister for the Class 3, District 6 meet with Aurora, Bolivar, Buffalo, Cassville, Forsyth, the host school, Logan-Rogersville, Monett, Mount Vernon, Nevada, Reeds Spring, and Springfield Catholic the other schools.
Both district meets will be held Saturday, October 20.
Team results, boys — East Newton 47, Cassville 113, Lamar 119, McDonald County 143, Springfield Catholic 147, Logan-Rogersville 157, Monett 174, Nevada 190, Mount Vernon 190, Reeds Spring 210, Marshfield 224, Hollister 290, Aurora 359.
Team results, girls — Hollister 38, Lamar 64, Nevada 75, Springfield Catholic 102, Marshfield 117, Monett 126, McDonald County 138.