Team effort propels Lady Comets in Class 2 cross country

Fatima senior Alexis Peters celebrates with Lady Comets fans after her team captured the Missouri Class 2 state cross country title Saturday morning at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.

Fatima senior Alexis Peters celebrates with Lady Comets fans after her team captured the Missouri Class 2 state cross country title Saturday morning at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

After taking to the awards podium twice, first with the boys team and later with the girls squad to collect a pair of Class 2 state cross country titles, it was time for Fatima head coach Marcus Bridges to get his real reward.

While congratulating members of the girls team for their success, several of the Fatima boys took it upon themselves to douse their coach’s back with a jug full of water.

So while Bridges was soggy, as was the cell phone that had the misfortune of being in a back pocket of his jeans, it was an enjoyable feeling Saturday at the Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City.

“I’ll take it,” Bridges said of the dousing. “I’ve tortured them enough, so they can get me, I guess.”

Besides, nothing could ruin a day when the school brought home two first-place trophies.

“That’s just fantastic,” Bridges said.

With the boys team claiming a title in the first race of the day, it certainly set the tone for the girls when they took to the course roughly an hour and a half later.

“They’ve competed against each other all year,” Bridges said. “The girls don’t want to do worse than the boys, and vice versa.”

The girls couldn’t have done much better, as they put forth an astounding effort. Not only did all five scoring members of the team finish in the top 25, but the Lady Comets went a step further by putting all seven runners in the top 29.

That’s not seven in the top 29 of a regular-season event. That’s at the state meet.

“To have the girls come out and run the way they did, that’s just amazing,” Bridges said.

The Lady Comets put together a clinic on what pack running is all about.

“They ran a seven-second split 1-5 today,” Bridges said. “I couldn’t have wished for anything better than that. I’m just elated.”

With the top-25 finishers earning all-state honors, it meant a whopping five Lady Comets walked away with that distinction.

“I really felt like they could do that, and we talked about it, but to execute that is just tremendous,” Bridges said.

Leading the way for Fatima was Riley Caminiti, who finished in ninth place in a time of 20:37.63, one spot better than Madison Day, who clocked a time of 20:41.62.

Then it was Anna Massman in 13th (20:44.88), Abby Sturtz in 15th (20:45.56) and Alexis Peters in 16th (20:45.59).

“That was our goal, to stay together and maintain contact with each other,” Caminiti said. “We would just focus on our jerseys and go for them.”

Rounding out the field for the Lady Comets was Katie Fechtel in 27th (20:52.18) and Ashley Reinkemeyer in 29th (21:19.31).

It all added up to a banner day for the school’s runners.

“We’re really proud,” Caminiti said. “Cross country, we usually don’t get much recognition, but hopefully this will help out with that.”

It means two more championship trophies heading to Westphalia, matching the number of state titles the school won last school year (volleyball and baseball).

“You don’t want it to be a competitive thing between sports, but nobody wants to be left behind,” Bridges said. “It’s a great chance for our program to step forward and maybe start to build a tradition. That’s what we’ll try to use this for.”

Another area competitor earned all-state honors, as California’s Katie Imhoff finished 24th (20:57.17). Also for the Lady Pintos, Leah Korenberg came in 35th (21:39.52).

Also running in the event was South Callaway, as Andrea Rodriquez was 38th (21:44.18) and Taylor Howard was 64th (22:24.52).

Courtney Rogers of Lutheran: St. Peters won the individual title by finishing in 19:24.98, better than 46 seconds in front of the second-place finisher, Stockton’s Alexis Smith.

Accompanying photo:

Fatima senior Alexis Peters celebrates with Lady Comets fans

See also:

Cross Country: Class 1-4 state championship results

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