Two Capital City Cavaliers and two Lady Cavaliers are set to take on the Gans Creek Course for the Class 4 state cross country meet today.
“It’s a big stage, it’s easy to get nervous and worry too much about it, but I’ve told them to try to be as relaxed as they can and run,” Capital City cross country coach Magnus Holmstrom said. “It’s a fast course, so we’re trying to set season bests and (personal records).”
First up today will be the two Cavaliers, with the Class 4 boys race starting at 11:15 a.m.
Both return with state experience.
“I think it’s a big advantage having been there before,” Holmstrom said. “They’re more relaxed, they know what to expect a little bit.”
Senior Rocky Nelson led the Cavaliers at the District 2 meet at Nixa High School, taking 19th with a time of 16:52.45.
“He’s kept improving, he’s getting to where I know he can be,” Holmstrom said. “He had a really good race Saturday, big PR, getting under 17 minutes for the first time, which is big.”
Nelson took 122nd in last year’s state meet with a time of 17:54.5, helping the Cavaliers take 15th in their first team appearance.
“His goal is to set another PR on Saturday and see where we’re at with the placement,” Holmstrom said.
Junior Rahi Patel will join Nelson today after beating the cutoff by 1.5 seconds with his 30th-place time of 17:28.17 in the district meet.
“He had a big step up Saturday,” Holmstrom said. “That was by far his best race this year. He’s kind of coming to where he can be at the end of the season. I just told him to go and see how close to the 17-minute mark he can get. That would be a pretty good race.”
Patel ran a time of 18:04.8 for 128th at state last season.
The two Lady Cavaliers will hit the course at noon.
Returning with state experience from her individual appearance last season is sophomore Alexa Scott.
Scott placed 17th in the district meet with a time of 20:40.11 to earn her second state spot.
“Her race wasn’t the best on Saturday,” Holmstrom said. “I know she can do better, so we’re just trying to see. I talked to her and said, ‘You know, you didn’t have your best race, but you made it, you’re here now. So now you just go in there and have fun and relax and do the best you can.’ And she has that experience from last year, so she is just going to try to improve that place from last year.”
Scott placed 54th last year in 20:12.1 as a freshman.
Joining her will be freshman Brenna Schulte.
“She has surpassed my expectations,” Holmstrom said. “That’s been a nice surprise. She’s done so well. … Like (Scott), she didn’t have the best day Saturday last week, she still made it through and now we’re just gonna try to put together a good one (today).”
Schulte took 12th in the district meet with a time of 20:10.61. She ran cross country in her freshman season while also playing on Capital City’s softball team.
“It’s really worked out well to combine a softball and cross country season,” Holmstrom said. “Thanks to coach (Brett) Skinner and working with him has gone really well. … She’s proven it can be done, so it’s really great to see.”
Capital City’s boys missed a second consecutive team appearance by three points, taking fifth with 173 points behind Carl Junction’s fourth-place score of 170, without their leading runner. Keion Grieve missed the district meet to take the ACT.
“He figured out in the middle of the season that districts was the same day as the ACT and he hadn’t taken it yet,” Holmstrom said. “… He made his decision with his family and that’s what they went with.”