Lindbergh High girls to compete in state cross country meet

By STEPHEN GLOVER

When the Lindbergh High School girls’ cross country team runs at the state championships this weekend in Jefferson City, the Flyers realize that every runner on the team could make the difference between a top-10 finish and a last-place finish.

The Flyers took fourth place by seven points last weekend at the Class 4 sectional, qualifying them for the state championship this weekend.

“We thought that we were one of the four best teams in our sectional,” Lindbergh head coach Jim Petersen told the Call. “But we knew that it would be tough to get through sectionals.”

Lindbergh freshman Colleen Riley took 15th overall with a time of 20:34.

“Colleen went out a little faster than we had planned, but she gutted it out,” Petersen said. “The top 15 is a really good run for a freshman.”

Junior Laura Hmiel was right behind Riley in 17th place with a time of 20:40.

“Laura really battled and hung in there,” Petersen said. “We took fourth by just seven points so it was important for her to run like she did.”

Sophomore Lindsey Oettle also placed in the top 20 with a 19th-place finish and a time of 20:45.

“This was only her third race ever be-cause she had been working out with us and playing soccer,” Petersen said. “She ended up running her personal best.”

Freshman Grace Watt (27th), senior Ally Thompson (33rd), junior Jane McKibbon (34th) and sophomore Emily Lanser (43rd) also will travel to the state championships and should be an integral part of the Flyers’ success in Jefferson City.

“We’ve got to run smart races at state,” Petersen said. “It’s critical to run smart races and we can’t get caught up in the excitement at state or else it will hurt us.”

The Lindbergh boys’ cross country team did not fare as well with a fifth-place finish, eliminating the team from qualifying for state. But the boys’ team did qualify three runners — senior Brian Petersen and juniors Mike Syrett and Nolan Bevirt.

Syrett took 10th overall with a time of 17:25.

“Mike ran a real smart race in that he went out slower and ended up running one second off of his personal best,” Petersen said. “He has a chance to do something at state this year.”

Petersen was 19th with a time of 17:44.

“With about a half mile to go, he was in 30th place,” Petersen said. “He has a real good kick and passed up a few guys for 19th.”

Bevirt took 27th overall with a time of 17:50.

“Nolan had a really strong race,” Peter-sen said. “I was really happy for Nolan because he got hurt at districts last year and couldn’t run.”

The Class 4 boys’ state championship be-gins at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and the Class 4 girls’ state championship begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Both meets are at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.