The 2009 cross country season began at Granby on Saturday morning with the annual Southwest Missouri Cross Country Coaches Association meet.
East Newton High School hosted the meet, which shifts sites yearly based on a vote of the membership at their annual meeting. Jake Holt, the East Newton coach and a former All-State runner at Southwest, served as meet director.
The meet is unusual in that no team scores are kept, and all divisions run together to give the small class runners a chance to compete against the big boys.
This year, the small school runners were the big boys, as four Class 1 and 2 runners cracked the top 10, and four more made the top 30 in the varsity boys division. Caleb Hoover, of College Heights Christian in Joplin, was the overall winner, covering the flat 5K course in 15:28.66.
Area boys competing included: Jacob Jennings, of Southwest (Washburn), 30th in 17:43.44; Micah Miller, of Monett, 31st in 17:45.02; Juan Renteria, of Monett, 52nd in 18:24.11; Isaac Weber, of Monett, 54th in 18:27.05; Ben Cooper, of Wheaton, 69th in 19:03.47; Cristian Sellars, of Southwest (Washburn), 78th in 19:21.70; Connor Kimzey, of Monett, 93rd in 19:43.64; Daniel Bryan, of Monett, 95th in 19:44.20; Justin Walker, of Wheaton, 97th in 19:47.70; Jakob Beck, of Wheaton, 105th in 19:59.00; Donovan Bartoski, of Wheaton, 123rd in 20:43.39; Justin Yeary, of Wheaton, 124th in 20:43.61; James Musick, of Wheaton, 132nd in 21:15.77; Darrell Burns, of Wheaton, 137th in 21:29.06; James Pettit, of Southwest (Washburn), 141st in 22:05.16; Jesse Mitchell, of Wheaton, 153rd in 23:40.19; and Kyle Miller, of Southwest (Washburn), 154th in 23:42.64.
In the varsity girls division, the big surprise was the appearance of Liz Reida in a Springfield Kickapoo uniform. Reida, a standout at Nixa previously, transferred to Kickapoo over the summer and adds strength and depth to an already loaded program. Lauren Collette, of Kickapoo, was the overall winner in 18:49.41, followed by Reida in 18:53.19.
Southwest's Michaela Mitchell was the highest placing Barry County runner, finishing 71st in her maiden high school race.
Other area girls competing included: Lauren Sebastain, of Monett, 93rd in 24:38.72; Shannon Burns, of Wheaton, 97th in 24:53.39; Sjara Wallace, of Wheaton, 101st in 25:25.17; Chelsey Jones, of Monett, 103rd in 25:31.19; Samantha Etzler, of Wheaton, 110th in 27:17.44; Emilee Mitchell, of Wheaton, 112th in 27:55.92; and Skyler Ginther, of Monett, 114th in 29:26.55.
In the junior varsity run, Monett boys results were: Luke Verhoff, 29th in 10:01; Caleb Blue, 34th in 10:09; Gunnar Pryor, 37th in 10:17; and Michael Morley, 41st in 10:26.
Running for the Monett girls jayvees was Hannah Martin. She was fifth with a time of 11:12.
Several area schools will compete at the Carthage Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 10 and then an army of schools will descend on Monett South Park on Tuesday, Sept. 15 for the annual Monett Invitational.