The Calvary Lutheran boys cross country team has had an individual run at the state cross country championships in four the the past five years.
It was time for a few more Lions to make an appearance.
Calvary Lutheran will have its boys team compete today in the Class 1 race at Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia.
"I think the boys really are a lot more focused on what they can do as a team, which is great," Calvary Lutheran coach Kerri Morris said. "I had no boy ask me, 'Do you think I've got a chance at all-state?' I think that says a lot about how they're working as a team. I'm sure it's on their mind, but they're really focused on what they can do as a combined effort."
Calvary will have a pair of girls racing today: freshman Maddie Homfeldt and junior Baileigh Morris.
The boys will get today's meet started at 9 a.m. with the girls racing at 10:10 a.m.
The Lions are glad to have the early start time after having to run at 1 p.m. during last week's District 4 meet at Linn.
"Their first loop they looked a little off, all of them," Morris said. " I kept telling them, 'You have to go pick up two more, two more jerseys if you want this team title and if you want to get to state.' That's been a huge goal. They really had a great second loop."
The Lions ended up winning their first district championship by six points ahead of Fair Play.
When the season began, the Lions didn't know what to expect once the postseason came.
Last season, they were bumped up to Class 2 and finished eighth in District 4.
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The team found out it was Class 1 a couple weeks into the season and knew that presented a good opportunity to earn a spot at state.
"It has been a goal for them," Morris said of the district title. "I was very honest and told them that they needed to be prepared to be Class 2 one more year. We talked about that it was a gift and you need to make the most of this opportunity. I feel like they have.
"They had a few blips in the early meets, but we have brought home more trophies this year than we have all together in all the seasons previous. And it's just been a motivating factor. They've worked together as a team. Training-wise, I feel like we've been really solid this year."
Grant and Cole Going, both juniors, have paced the Lions for most of the season. They finished third and fourth, respectively, at the district meet.
"Cole Going had a super race," Morris said. "He's had a lot stronger season than I imagined. Grant has too. He's battled some injuries. Grant's always been my leader, kind of waited three years for Cole to step up into that other spot and he really has this year."
Kyle Hagemeyer, a freshman, has proven to be an important asset for a Lions team with four juniors and two sophomores taking the other six varsity spots.
"His teammates are very supportive of him and I think they see how much he is adding to that program," Morris said. "We kind of knew that potential was there, but it's been nice to see it play out that way for sure. And he's got a real competitive edge. I've seen him grow a lot."
Isaiah Barg, a junior, was the fourth Calvary runner to earn all-district honors last week with a 12th-place finish.
Rounding out the top five for Calvary was junior Josh Thieme in 21st.
"Josh Thieme has come on like I wouldn't have guessed,"Morris said. "Isaiah Barg has too, and Kyle's been a great addition like we thought."
A pair of sophomores — Lars Marion and Alex Roettgen — will also run for the Lions.
"I think it's very realistic to be in a top eight," Morris said of the team standings. "I'd love to see them do that."
Homfeldt has been the top runner for the Lady Lions all season, becoming the first Calvary girl to win an individual district championship to go with wins at South Callaway and Belle.
Homfeldt won the race by more than 30 seconds, but Morris said she stiffened up during the race.
"One of the coaches from another town said, 'Well my gosh, if this is what you look like not feeling good, I don't want to see you on a good day.' She's got a lot of capability."
Baileigh Morris is making her second appearance at the state meet.
"I want to see her run a complete race," Kerri Morris said. "She still struggles sometimes when she gets out good. And then like last week she felt kind of tight by the end because she got kind of locked up.
"We've talked a lot about preparing the best way and just give it a good complete race."
Chamois will have three runners in the Class 1 girls race.
Katie Keilholz will be making her third appearance at the state meet. She was all-state in 2017 with an 18th-place finish.
Alexis Slusser and Makenna Wuelling will compete in their second straight state race for Chamois.
Shannon Cowans will run for the Chamois boys.
The Vienna girls qualified as a team after finishing second at districts behind Hermitage.
Cameren Doyel, a freshman, led the Lady Eagles with a fifth-place finish at districts.
Representing the Vienna boys is junior Caleb Horman, who's running in his second state race.