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Capital City cross country has one of the rising stars in Mid-Missouri distance running in Keion Grieve.

The sophomore took the last spot on the All-State squad in the final cross country race of his freshman season and finished third in the 800 meter run at the state track meet this spring.

"I've been coaching for 15 years and he's one of the most unique kids you know, talent-wise I have ever seen," coach Magnus Holstrom said.

"He's done a lot of work," Holstrom said. "He does AAU track which is a big thing for him. So he's been working hard and so I'm excited to see what he can do. I'm looking for him to you know, become a little stronger because he was a freshman and of course he was a really good freshman,"

Grieve's will lead a Capital City team that is finally getting some experience runners a couple of years after the school was created. The team has seniors for the first time ever.

"I only have three seniors, but we still have seniors on the team," Holstrom said. "And so there's some experience there. And they've kind of grown up together and become leaders. We have leaders on the team now and so that's good."

Grieve will be joined by varsity runners Ben Lear, Colin Voss, Brock Schofield, Parker Noble, Rocky Nelson and Rahi Patel when the team kicks off its season today at the Jim Marshall Invitational at Cole County Park.

The girls team will feature Alyson Linhardt, Gwyn DeFeo, Kate Faherty, Sarah Kirby, Kimber Noble, Esther Abbott and Jacinda Espinosa as its varsity seven.

Grieve was the only state qualifier last season so the team will look to bring a larger contingent to this year's expanded event that reverts back to the state meet's typical size. The district meets only qualified half as many teams and runners last year.

The team started the season practicing at 6:30 a.m. before school to beat the heat and is finally getting back to practicing after school. With the rest of the team and the junior varsity squad, Holstrom wants to take a long-term approach to give the team more depth going forward.

"I'm big into building a good base," Holstrom said. "I think that's important with kids nowadays is some of them come to me from no background at all, like they haven't ran at all, even a step you know. You have to build the base, you know, and I'm big into the, you know, getting your aerobic base built before you do anything else. The most important thing is the long run. So it's important, you know, for us try to get long runs in every one week at least."

The team also opted to wait an extra week to join Jefferson City and start racing today instead of in a round of local meets on Aug. 29.

"I know four weeks seems like a long time to train before you run race, but I just like to have a good chunk of training before we actually go into the racing," Holstrom said.

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