COLUMBIA — Calvary Lutheran cross country coach Kerri Morris could hardly watch.
After the first 2,000 meters of the Class 1 boys race, Calvary Lutheran had the top spot in the team standings.
The Lions dropped to second in the next 1,000 meters, and then to third during the final stretch.
"It's a little nerve-wracking," Morris said after the Lions won the program's first team trophy Saturday at the state cross country championships at Gans Creek Cross Country Course. "As a coach, you're watching and you're like, 'I don't want to watch.'"
Calvary finished with 144 points, four behind runner-up Blue Eye and four ahead of Fair Play. Oak Ridge ran away with the team title with 89 points.
What helped hold Calvary steady in the top four was freshman Kyle Hagemeyer, who paced himself to a 15th-place finish to earn all-state honors.
"The first loop, I knew it was a little bit shorter so I wanted to take it a little bit easier," said Hagemeyer, who ran the course in 17:32.5. "And then the second loop, just go out and just start picking them off one by one."
Hagemeyer raced himself into an all-state spot early on and never slipped.
He went from 25th, to 20th, to 17th and all the way up to 12th a little more than halfway through.
"I just wanted to pace myself a little bit and just stay strong the entire race, not be able to fade," Hagemeyer said.
Grant Going and Cole Going had a different approach, sprinting toward the lead at the start.
It worked out for Grant Going, who ended up just seven seconds from an all-state spot in 28th (17:46.4).
Cole Going ended up with the team's fourth-fastest time in 89th (19:03.2). Isaiah Barg was 82nd (18:57.8) and Josh Thieme rounded out the team score in 113th (19:40.4).
"I think adrenaline got them somewhat out there really quick and got caught up in that pace," Morris said. "But if you look at times, it's still great times for everyone."
Alex Roettgen (121st, 19:53.7) and Lars Marion (128th, 20:11.4) also ran for the Lions.
Hagemeyer said running at state wasn't really on his radar entering his first year at the high school level.
His mindset has changed during the past few months.
"I know that if I keep working hard I know one day I can be towards the top," Hagemeyer said. "The goals have changed. This summer after track season, just work hard and hopefully be in the top 10 next year and keep moving up after that."
Hagemeyer wasn't the only Calvary freshman to walk away with a medal. Maddie Homfeldt, one of two Lady Lions in the girls race, finished 14th in 21:13.6 to become the second Calvary girl to win a state medal.
"I think it's amazing to watch the maturity of those two," Morris said.
"Kyle was, I felt, a little wigged. I thought he was really in his head and clearly it worked for him. But we just talked about how he needed to be confident in his abilities that he can do this and he's prepared."
Homfeldt's sister, Emma, was the first Lady Lion to be an all-state cross country runner with a 17th-place finish in 2017.
"I think she feels a lot of expectations put on her shoulders and we try not to add any more to it," Morris said. "She's just the kind of kid that takes it on her own. She just stayed strong. She ran a good solid race."
Baileigh Morris crossed the line in 95th in 24:17.8.
"She came in where I hoped she would be," Kerri Morris said. "She hung right in there and had a great strong finish."
Chamois' Katie Keilholz was on her way to winning her second state medal, but was unable to complete the final climb to the finish line.
Keilholz and Homfeldt had been side-by-side for much of the race.
"We do have a good relationship with that team," Morris said. "That is nice when the kids develop a relationship where you can be competitive but you can work together."
Vienna junior Caleb Horman was all-state with a 10th-place finish in 17:18.3
Horman got close to the front of the pack early, but didn't fade much on his quest for his first state medal.
Horman was just 20 seconds off from being all-state last season, finishing 30th in 18:44.68 at Oak Hills Golf Center.
The Vienna girls placed 15th as a team with 387 points.
Pacing the Lady Eagles was Cameren Doyel in 84th (24:00). Also running for Vienna were Alia Terwilliger (148th, 28:24.1), Andrea Novak (153rd, 28:45.7), Kiera Hollis (157th, 30:15.5) and Madeleine Novak (159th, 31:12.0).
Chamois freshman Shannon Cowans placed 119th in the boys race with a time of 19:49.
Leading the Chamois girls was Alexis Slusser in 51st (22:53.2). Makenna Wuelling ended up 104th (24:32.4) for the Lady Pirates.