October 31, 2016 Chris Auckley
London, England native Paul Wright came to the US to compete as a decathlete for Clemson University 20-plus years ago. In 2007, Wright was named head coach of Lindenwood University’s cross country and track programs, coming from Southern Virginia University. Wright moved to Hong Kong in 2010 to become the head coach of Hong Kong Athletics, while still teaching sports psychology courses online for Lindenwood. Wright returned to the US in late 2012 after coaching the Hong Kong Olympic team. His son’s health issues, thought to possibly to be caused by the pollution in Hong Kong, brought him, his American born wife, and their family back to the US.
The Wrights returned to St. Charles, and Paul eventually took over the coaching reigns at St. Charles High. Wright has quickly built a strong program in Class 3. In 2013, the girls made it to state, taking 17th in a rare 17-team field. In 2014, the boys took fourth at state, led by senior twin all-staters Arthur Chan (15th) and Alfred Chan (21st). The girls meanwhile took 12th at State that year. Last year, the boys were 10th at State.
This year’s teams continue to show the program’s growth as they swept the MSHSAA Class 3 District 4 cross country meet at Warrenton High School. On the boy’s side, the Pirates totaled 63 points, going 2-9-16-17-and 22nd. They beat St. Charles West who totaled 73 points while edging Orchard Farm (79) and Lutheran St. Charles (80) for the last of two qualifying spots to the state meet, in the ten-team field that had 68 finishers. St. Charles West went 3-4-5-29-36.
Warrenton sophomore Nathan Nordwald ran to victory on his home course on the Warrenton High School campus. Nordwald trailed Orchard Farm sophomore Carson Sanders by a step in the first mile, but just after the mile, he had a stride on Sanders and St Charles’ Wilson Rosner. St. Charles West trio Andrew Chaffin, Tyler Oetting, and Jacob Larson trailed the leaders by three seconds.
Host Warrenton used five-feet wide strips of artificial turf to get runners across the road in two separate places. By two miles, Nordwald had gained a five second lead on Sanders and Rosner while the St. Charles West trio were about eight seconds back of them. Nordwald went up the final incline and out of the slightly wooded area all by himself. He ran the final 60-meter homestretch with no one in sight, crossing the finish line in 17:12. Rosner was second in 17:36, while St. Charles West’s trio passed Sanders in the last mile with Chaffin taking third in 17:57, Larson fourth in 17:59, and Oetting in 18:08. Sanders was sixth in 18:22, a half-second ahead of teammate Will Runion. The top fifteen finishers earned All-District honors and qualified for the State Championship meet next Saturday in Jefferson City. The course was mostly flat but included a couple short hills and descents.
Race Finish Video:
The victory was the second of the season for Nordwald, who captured the conference title two weeks ago at Orchard Farm. Nordwald said, “I came into the race knowing there were a bunch of good runners in our district, we were all about the same speed. I ran with that top pack…then decided about halfway in to break away and try to comeback with the win.” Nordwald said he felt great on the familiar home course, “The start of the second lap I opened up my stride and got probably 10 or 20 meters (on the field).”
This will be the second trip to state for Nordwald, who says he struggled last year, taking 131st as a freshman. What has he learned that will make this time around different? “(I’ll) try not to psych myself out thinking it’s the state meet, just try to get out there and compete. You’re running with the best runners in the state of Missouri in our class. (You) just go out there and compete and give it your all since it’s the last race of the year.” Nordwald’s advice for freshman teammate Paul Sanders, who took 13th Saturday and will run at State, “Try to get out, but don’t let everyone else over pace you. Try to run your race and it will all work out.” Nordwald said his goal is at least to finish in the top 50 at state, to run a good time, possibly in the low 17’s and to try and get as close to medaling as possible.”
Nathan Nordwald Interview:
In the girl’s race, Wright City senior Erin Tomschin had a 25-meter lead on Incarnate Word junior Brooke Fredrickson and Warrenton senior Andrea Poole just before the mile. The trailing duo had about a 25-meter lead on Warrenton freshman Alexandra Frederick and 30-meter lead on IWA freshman Helen Demarcantonio. St. Charles, St. Dominic, and Lutheran St. Charles runners dominated the chase pack another 35-meters back.
Just before two miles, Tomschin’s lead over Fredrickson appeared to shrink to 20-meters as they made their way up the biggest hill of the course that covered about fifty-meters. Warrenton’s Frederick had passed teammate Poole and was 11-seconds back of Fredrickson, while Demarcantonio was still in fourth, 19 seconds back of Poole just before the 2-mile mark. The team battle heated up over the last mile as St. Charles runners were fifth and sixth just before the two-mile mark, followed closely by three Lutheran St. Charles runners and a third St. Charles Pirate.
Incarnate Word’s Fredrickson popped up over the last hill to the homestretch, having passed Wright City’s Tomschin in the last mile. Fredrickson sprinted home, finishing in 21:22, while Tomschin was second in 21:33. Warrenton’s Frederick and Poole held on for third and fourth in 21:30 and 22:04. St. Charles junior Camryn Green sprinted past IWA’s Demarcantonio as they took fifth and sixth. St. Charles went 5-9-11-13-16-19 and totaled 48 points in the 50-finisher race that had six scoring teams. Lutheran St. Charles was 11 points back totally 59. Coach Chris Mizel’s Lady Cougars qualified for state in their first year of competition in Class 3 after being bumped up from Class 2. Incarnate Word was third, missing qualifying for state by 12 points with 68 points.
Race Finish Video:
Coach Chris Mizel’s Lady Cougars qualified for state in their first year of competition in Class 3 after being bumped up from Class 2. Incarnate Word was third, missing qualifying for state by 12 points with 68 points.
Champion Frederick placed 56th at State last year as sophomore for Incarnate Word. A great race from her next Saturday could put her in the mix for All-State honors next Saturday.