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Comets romp to team honors in Class 2 boys race

Fatima sophomore Hunter Hennier overtakes College Heights Christian’s Ryan Beaver on the outside near the two-mile mark in the Class 2 boys race Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.

Fatima sophomore Hunter Hennier overtakes College Heights Christian’s Ryan Beaver on the outside near the two-mile mark in the Class 2 boys race Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

After a couple years of knocking on the door, the Fatima boys cross country team smashed it in.

The Comets claimed the first state title in the school’s history in the sport, capturing the Missouri Class 2 championship Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.

Running in the first race of the day, the Comets gave a preview of things to come, as the Lady Comets also nabbed a state title later on.

“It was huge — we were third two years ago and third last year and felt like both years we had an opportunity to maybe place higher than we did,” Fatima coach Marcus Bridges said. “This year, to finally come in and do what we wanted to do felt really good.”

The Comets posted a total of 73 points to cruise to the title, as second-place Stockton ended up with 130.

“I thought it was going to end up being closer than it was,” Bridges said. “It seemed close during the race, so I was kind of nervous about it.”

Senior Ross Schanzmeyer, who led the team with an eighth-place finish (16:58.47) to earn all-state honors, said the last two years were key to this year’s success.

“It provided a lot of drive,” he said. “It really drove us to improve and get better. We really wanted that state championship.”

Schanzmeyer leaves as a three-time all-stater, finishing 10th in 2011 and 11th in 2012.

“Ross stepped in and he made it pretty public with the team that he wanted to be our No. 1 today,” Bridges said. “That position has shifted three different times this year, it goes back and forth each week. He came out and did it. Nobody wants to give it up and he just took it from them.”

Added Schanzmeyer: “It was my last race and I just wanted to leave it all out there.”

Close behind Schanzmeyer was sophomore Hunter Hennier, who was ninth (16:59.43) after finishing fifth last year. Also closing out his career with an all-state finish was Tom Zeilman, who came in 21st (17:25.17).

“When the boys won it, I just felt like, ‘We did what we came to do,’” Bridges said.

Other finishers for Fatima included Caleb Schroeder (39th, 17:55.40), Cody Huhn (52nd, 18:06.69), Austin Muenks, (66th, 18:22.48) and Noah Thoenen (118th, 19:07.47).

“It really doesn’t get any better than this,” Schanzmeyer said. “I’m honestly speechless. This is what we’ve been working for all season. A lot of us have been doing this since grade school.”

After winning baseball and volleyball titles last year, the school’s going to have to create room in the trophy case for some more hardware.

“It’s a good feeling,” Schanzmeyer said. “We’ve been working for this for a long time and to finally get state championship feels real good.”

Lamar’s Kaden Overstreet won the individual title in a time of 16:35.22, more than eight seconds better than his closest competitor.

Other area competitors earning all-state honors in the race were Adam Burkett of California (12th, 17:05.10) and Maguire Scheer of Southern Boone (16th, 17:09.26).

Southern Boone’s Sam Bowles narrowly missed out on all-state honors (top-25 finish), as he finished 26th (17:34.68). Also competing for the Eagles were Keenan Attebery (109th, 19:00.97), Jared Thomassen (122nd, 19:11.75), Chris Edwards (130th, 19:22.22), Nathan Dowd, (153rd), 20:05.23 and Peter Oleski (160th, 20:47.61).

Southern Boone placed 11th in the team race with 243 points.

Also competing for California was Zachary Merril (42nd, 17:56.64).

Accompanying photo:

Fatima sophomore Hunter Hennier

See also:

Cross Country: Class 1-4 state championship results

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