COLUMBIA — After Yumia Robben stepped off the medal stand Saturday at the state cross country championships, her teammates and family surrounded her and wanted to have a look at the all-state medal around her neck.
It's the first one for the first-year Capital City program.
But the medal itself isn't really what Robben was focused on. It was the support she's gotten to push her toward that accomplishment and the hugs that followed the Class 3 race at Gans Greek Cross Country Course.
"The team is what helps me enjoy it," Robben, who finished seventh in 19:12.8, said. "When I finish and I have the whole team there to give me a hug, that's what makes cross country the best, that's what really makes cross country what it is, the team and bonding with people you love."
It was Robben's family that got her into the sport. There may have been doubts about doing it once she got her first taste of it, but her determination has only grown the past couple years.
"My family has always been a cross country family, so it's always been, 'So when you grow up are you going to run cross country like your brothers?' I'm like, 'Yeah of course.' And then I come here and I'm like 'Wait, this is what it is?'
"But around eighth grade when I really started, I knew I had a shot to do well. I said, 'All right, I'm going to start taking summer training more seriously and put in those miles and put in the work to do the best I can.'"
The time between last week's district race and the moment Robben stepped into the box at the starting line Saturday was filled with preparation and nerves.
The map of the course needed to be studied. Then there was the urge to watch a video preview of the course at least a few times to come up with a game plan, figuring out where the best spots were to make her moves through the field.
It turns out, there wasn't much need for passing.
Robben remained steady around her final finishing spot throughout the race.
Although, she admitted she wasn't confident approaching the final incline to the finish line.
"As soon as I saw it I was like, 'Oh no, this is my defeat,'" Robben said. "But as soon as I started the race, I'm like, 'I'm not going let that take me down.' I've already come this far, I cannot let this take me down now."
Capital City sophomore Alyson Linhardt finished 115th in 21:38.9.
The Capital City boys placed 12th as a team with 287 points. Festus won the team title with 39 points, 34 ahead of Herculaneum. Bolivar and Clayton placed third and fourth, respectively.
Ben Lear led the Cavaliers with a 47th-place finish in a time of 17:02.3. Braden Voss (89th, 17:39.8), Peyton Vogt (93rd, 17:41.3), Oliver Sapp (121st, 18:11.5) and Colin Voss (134th, 18:28.7) contributed to the team score.
Rounding out the Cavaliers were Parker Noble in 146th (18:48.8) and Will Carver in 150th (18:59.4).
School of the Osage senior Chase Grosvenor won his first state medal by finishing 15th in 16:17.0. He placed 44th last season in his first state race.
Grosvenor got to 13th place by the 1,000-meter mark and was able to remain between 10th and 15th during the race.
Fellow Indian John Markovitz placed 57th in 17:16.6.
California's Caden Kirksey capped off his high school career with a 31st-place finish, missing an all-state spot by about 15 seconds with a time of 16:45.2.
The School of the Osage girls finished 13th as a team with 284 points. MICDS won the team championship with 104 points, 25 ahead of DeSoto. Smithville was third and Warrensburg finished fourth.
Leading the Lady Indians was Bayley Johnson in 71st (20:47.6), Sara Wolf was 83rd (21:05.8), Sarah Porter finished 95th (21:15.1), Nevaeh Henley finished 130th (21:56.4), Grace Martin was 150th (22:43.0), Madison Kessler was 159th (23:22.9) and Abby Maschhoff ended up 162nd (23:32.5).
Blair Oaks' Kati Schoeneberg finished 38th in 20:11.0.
Schoeneberg was 53rd at the 1,000-meter mark, 47th at the 2,000-meter mark and pushed all the way to 35th 3,000 meters into the race.