Rock Bridge and Lafayette battle at Parkway West-splitting titles, Schulte and Whitman earn victories


Meet Photos:                                                                                             http://chrisa.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/2013-Parkway-West-Cross-Country-Inv/C0000GUNau80O4YI                                                                                                                   Meet Videos:                                                                                                              http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1ilp_eN1bGh6yKtYSVI2MO1sFOgun349

Shepherd still busy in retirement

Dale Shepherd retired for the second time over the summer as the Parkway West boys cross country coach, but it appears he hasn’t been resting much, and those at the 2013 Parkway West Cross Country Invitational in West St. Louis County Saturday, benefitted from his efforts as well as those of the athletes and coaches hard at work on the first weekend of October.

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After hosting the meet at St. Charles’ McNair Park for years, the meet moved to Parkway Central’s on campus course in 2011, before Shepherd began developing a course on the grounds of The Living World United Methodist Church in Wildwood. Shepherd said he has clocked 150 hours of work on the course in the last few months and Parkway West girls head coach Charles Cutelli has also spent his fair share of time at work on site. While Shepherd said he’ s not a big fan of multiple loop courses like the one at Living Word, he seems to have made the most of the space available. If you were a fan Saturday you had plenty of chances to see the athletes as they never got very far from the main runway in the middle of the course. That made for a jam packed course for the meet which featured Class 4 teams, with 19 full boys varsity squads finishing and 16 girls varsity squads tallying team scores.

The threat of storms hung over the area late in the morning and finally gave way for about a 20 minute soaking during the freshman boys race, the second to last of the eight 5k races on the day, around 12:30 p.m. Things let up in time for the open race and awards.

Schulte dominates as Lafayette edges Rock Bridge, SLUH, and O’Fallon

Rock Bridge senior Evan Schulte wasted no time in the varsity boys race, charging to the front and never looking back. Lafayette sophomore Dylan Quisenberry and Dorrian Gordon of Illinois power O’Fallon Township, gave chase, but the pair would have to settle for duking it out for second place.

After a top-ten finish in the nearly 500-boy field at the Roy Griak meet in Minnesota last week, Schulte had no trouble outrunning all-comers Saturday. Schulte is in the final year of the kind of career path you often see from the very best Missouri high school boys. That usually includes status as top 15-20 runner statewide as a sophomore, followed by being in contention as one of the state’s best as a junior, capped by performances that put you in the discussion with the best in the Midwest as a senior. Schulte was 20th as a sophomore at the State meet in Class 4, as the Bruins boys won the state title and fielded one of the top boys’ teams of all-time in Missouri.

Schulte jumped to 5th in the Class 4 State Meet as the Bruins had an off day in 2012, finishing 9th and ending their streak of consecutive State Trophies at three.

Schulte’s quick early pace pulled along some runners who fought to keep a fast rhythm. That led to a lot of movement throughout the race with some fading and others moving up, also making for an exciting team battle with several of the top teams in Missouri and Illinois.

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More than halfway through the race, at about 2800 meters, counting athletes from photos seem to show the team scores as the following: Lafayette 59, Rock Bridge 63, SLUH 70, and O’Fallon 105. Lafayette sitting at 2-4-6-23-24, and Rock Bridge at 1-8-9-20-25-38. SLUH appeared to be in places 7-13-15-16-19-and 22nd for their sixth man, while O’Fallon sat at 3-14-17-32-39.  Whatever their strategies, things played out differently for Lafayette and Rock Bridge over the final 1.3 miles, though resulted in almost the exact same scores. Lafayette’s underclassmen two and three runners, freshman Austin Hindman and sophomore soccer player turned runner Alec Haines, in his first season, faded a little over the final stretch while their four and five runners moved up. It was just the opposite for Rock Bridge. Seniors Zach Cook and Connor Crabtree moved up while the Bruins four and fifth scorers dropped a few spots.

By the four kilometer mark, O’Fallon’s Gordon had passed Quisenberry for second behind Schulte. Behind as in 23 seconds behind the compact Schulte. Schulte blasted his way down the long 230 meter straightaway Saturday to finish in 15:46 for a 24-second victory.

Athletes, Coaches, and Fans, lined up along the long final stretch all day to watch and cheer as precious points were on the line as athletes did their best to finish strong down the long, slow-rising, 230 meter homestretch. It was a great display of the grit and guts of athletes as well as the drama of the end of the physical and mental challenge that is cross country. If you’re a fan of the sport, it was beautiful, even if disastrous and ugly for some athletes, struggling to get to the finish. The drama of the finish stretch of races is one of the best sights in sports, with athletes fighting their bodies, minds, and competition for individual and team honors.

Dorrion Gordon took runner-up honors in 16:10 for O’Fallon and earned the unofficial title of strongest athlete of the day, with muscles popping out of his arms and legs from

In the end it was the young Lafayette Lancers who won, earning their third meet title of the year. The Lancers captured their first ever State Cross Country team trophy with their third place finish in the Class 4 race. After losing two all-staters to graduation in Derek Legenzoff and Jordan West, the Lancers have plugged the holes with two newcomers and and the progress of sophomore Dylan Quisenberry, who has gone from an excellent freshman to a contender in every meet he’s been in. Quisenberry captured the 4A title last week at the Hancock Invitational, as the Lancers were runners-up to West Plains, 28-58 in the 18 team field.

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Sean O’Connor looks like he is in the early stages of building a consistent power with his Lafayette Boys, much like Neal Blackburn has done with the Rock Bridge boys and girls in the last decade. After losing two all-staters to graduation in Derek Legenzoff and Jordan West. The pair led the Lancers to their first ever State Trophy with their third place finish in Class 4 in 2012.

Boys Scores at 2.7K or sos

Rock Bridge        1, 8, 9, 20, 25,38  =63

Lafayette             2, 4, 6, 23, 24, =59

SLUH                     7, 13, 15, 16, 19, 22, 33=70

O’Fallon               3,14, 17, 32, 39, =105

Two of country’s best not on hand

Two St. Louis area seniors who happen to be two of the country’s best high school boys were not on hand Saturday while their teams were represented. Patrick Perrier of O’Fallon Township (Il.) and Marquette’s Noah Kauppila were both missing from the meet. Although the Marquette varsity boys ran at the Capital City Cross Country Challenge on Friday, Marquette filled several of the races with athletes Saturday. According to several coaches on hand the pair were on the same recruiting visit to Stanford University. And second-year coach Chris Miltenberg would be lucky to have the two, who have already impressed, and seem to have unlimited potential. Miltenberg’s brother ???? used to be an assistant at Rock Bridge. Both enjoyed titles in 2011 as the Rock Bridge boys captured the Missouri Class 4 crown, while Miltenberg’s Georgetown women captured the NCAA Division I cross country title a few weeks later.

Whitman runs to victory-helping Cor Jesu to 4th, Rock Bridge wins ahead of Lafayette

On the girls side Cor Jesu senior Jill Whitman and Parkway West junior Maddy Brown took off to the front at the start. The pair were 1-2 halfway down the 200 meter start straightaway, though about 20 meters apart. The long start stretch was separated by a tree line with small thin trees every 6-8 meters up the middle. Whitman was leading on the left side, while Brown was leading on the right.

The two led the race with Lafayette sophomore trailing close early, while Francis Howell’s Arnica Zitting, Eureka’s Rachel Yergensen, Kirkwood’s Erin Kelly, and the Rock Bridge trio of Kyla Funkenbusch, Sam Farmer, and Marilise Stamps made up the chase pack.

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Just before 2k Whitman had a stride lead over Brown with Nicholson two seconds back. Zitting, Farmer trailed by another second and Yergensen and Stamps a few more behind. At 3800 meters Whitman had increased her led to seven seconds while Zitting had moved into a solid third place, three seconds behind Brown. Farmer was a stride ahead of Nicholson, six seconds behind Zitting, for fourth and fifth. Yergensen was another 11 seconds back in sixth with Stamps a few strides back in seventh.

The thin Whitman cruised home for the win, finishing in 18:36, while brown was seven seconds back in 18:43 for second.

Despite fading from third to fifth midway through the race, Lafayette’s Nicholson, the sixth placer at the 2012 State Meet, found the strength to power thru the final kilometer. Nicholson not only made up the stride difference Rock Bridge’s Farmer had on her, but she poured it on, finishing eight seconds ahead to just dip under 19 minutes: 18:59.9 to 19:07.9. Yergensen held on for sixth in 19:25, while Stamps was seventh in 19:30. Eureka freshman Andra Staciu made up big ground over the last half of the race, finishing eighth in 19:47. Emily Harl was 9th and Kayla Funkenbusch was 11th to give Rock Bridge four in  the top 10, and fifth scorer Joanna Zhang was 26th to give the Bruins five top-30 medalists.

Unlike the varsity boys race, the girls team competition never seemed in doubt. The Lady Bruins of Rock Bridge were in control throughout. With their green tops and white RB lettering the Bruins weren’t really pushed by the competition. Lafayette may have been able to make it close like the boys race, but was running without one of their two all-staters in sophomore Anna West, who hasn’t raced in recent weeks. The Bruins finished with 57 points to beat Lafayette’s 80 points, a 23 point difference, similar to the 25 points difference between the two at last year’s state meet when they placed fifth and sixth.

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Third placer Eureka finished with 102 and had good showings from their top three, scorers. They were without star Hannah Long, who for the second straight year made the trip to North Carolina for the Great American Cross Country Festival. And after not looking like herself lately, reportedly began treatment to correct high iron levels. That must have helped because Long captured the Race of Champions title, improving on her runner-up finish last fall. Read more by NSAF’s Steve Underwood here: http://www.nationalscholastic.org/gacc/article/1488

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