Helias girls figure to be in trophy hunt

Helias junior Kaitlyn Shea is looking for her third all-state performance today in the Class 3 cross country championships.

Helias junior Kaitlyn Shea is looking for her third all-state performance today in the Class 3 cross country championships. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The fight figures to be for 2-4.

The Helias Lady Crusaders have trophy aspirations today in the Class 3 cross country championships at the Oak Hills Golf Center.

But the most important one figures to be out of reach for everyone except defending state champion Ste. Genevieve.

“Ste. Genevieve is going to get the big trophy and everybody is going to cheer big for them,” Helias coach Mary Haskamp said. “They’ve got a lot of great runners.”

But after that, Haskamp said it will be a fight for the other three team trophies.

“There’s about six teams that could vie for those spots and we’re one of them,” Haskamp said.

The Lady Crusaders, who finished 10th last year, are led by two-time all-state performer Kaitlyn Shea. The junior was 16th last year after finishing 14th as a freshman.

“It’s tough for a No. 1 runner to have great improvement, but Kaitlyn was consistently faster in nearly every race this season,” Haskamp said.

Kayla Yanskey, a freshman, was Helias’ No. 2 finisher in its run to the district title last Saturday. Not bad for a runner who wasn’t sure she was going to run cross country this season until the day before the first practice.

“She’s consistently been in the low 20-minute finishes and if she can do that, she could be all-state,” Haskamp said.

Baylee Francka, a senior who was 81st as a junior, is Helias’ No. 3 runner. Other Lady Crusaders from the district champion squad include sophomore Molly Light, senior Ali Boudreau and sophomore Lizzy Stumpe.

Light, who was 34th at state as a freshman and was Helias’ No. 2 runner at the start of the season, missed much of the middle of the season due to illness. Haskamp said the rest of the team did a very good job in Light’s absence.

“The other girls stepped it up and realized they needed to help out the team effort and not just hang out,” Haskamp said. “The times have steadily come down throughout the season.”

Kylie Frank, a freshman, will be Helias’ seventh runner today.

“She has tons of promise, she probably would have been among our top two or three runners except she’s been hurt all season,” Haskamp said. “She could be our underdog that really helps us out.”

It’s the fourth straight state trip and 24th overall for the Lady Crusaders, who have won one state title (1987) and 11 trophies.

“I believe the Class 3 girls is the toughest race of the day,” Haskamp said.

Others in the trophy hunt include Festus, Liberty North, Notre Dame de Sion and MICDS.

The Class 3 girls race is the last of the day at 1:05 p.m.

“As cold as it’s supposed to be in the morning, when we run, the temperature should be just about right,” Haskamp said.


On the boys side, the Crusaders have two individual qualifiers after finishing third as a team at district.

“We knew we were going to be in a tough district,” Haskamp said.

Evan Block and Matt Lorang, both seniors, will run starting at noon.

“They want to go out with the best races of their careers and they’re ready to do it,” Haskamp said.

The top 25 finishers earn all-state honors.


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