COLUMBIA, Mo. – After earning her fourth trip to the MSHSAA state cross country meet, Kayley Heeter finally propelled herself to the medals podium amid a change of scenery.

The Potosi senior persevered to finish 13th in Class 3, and became one of three athletes from the MAAA conference to achieve all-state status for the first time on Saturday.

Heeter improved by 25 spots compared to her 38th-place showing last fall, and turned in a final time of 19:26 after surging over the final two kilometers.

She was squarely on the medalist bubble in 25th before passing 12 competitors on the new and quicker state course at Gans Creek Conservation Area in Columbia.

Potosi sent three girls to the grand event, and had more to celebrate when freshman Celeste Sansegraw (19:42) mounted a similar charge during the latter half of the Class 3 race to secure 23rd place.

Junior Cierra Lewis (20:43) crossed the line 66th out of 175 entrants, and accomplished a personal best along the way for the Lady Trojans.

The Class 2 girls’ action included full squads from Arcadia Valley and returning Valle Catholic plus three individuals from West County.

While Arcadia Valley finished 11th and Valle Catholic took 12th in the team standings, history was made for the budding West County program.

Freshman Alivia Simily became the first all-state medalist for her school in cross country, just one week removed from capturing her initial district title.

Simily remained in contention for a top-10 result beyond the midway mark, then drifted back slightly to 17th overall while notching her fastest 5K time of the season at 20:14.

Kara Hovick (21:52) made her third state appearance – trimming 1 minute, 52 seconds off her mark last year – and sophomore Sydney Cash (22:01) improved by 1 minute, 36 seconds for the Lady Bulldogs.

Arcadia Valley junior Erica Standefer (21:35) dropped 19 places from her previous state race to 55th, but was still 56 seconds faster while pacing her team.

Mary Roth (21:38) and Madison Otte (21:50) were 57th and 64th, respectively, for Valle Catholic, which trailed the Lady Tigers by one point Saturday after beating them by two for a district crown.

Alyssa Glanzer (23:05), Mary Tevis (23:10), Avery Jones (23:27), Trinity Russell (23:37), Autumn Thomas (23:43) and Ella Weber (26:33) rounded out the AV contingent.

Other Valle runners included Nicole Valle (23:01), Rachel Valle (24:17), Emily Grither (24:34), Katie Kertz (26:03) and Mary Keeley (26:40).

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Farmington qualified its entire girls team in Class 4 for the first time since 2011, and generated personal records from four members at state despite placing at the bottom of the school rankings.

Sophomore Breanna Mathes (19:37) again highlighted the Knights for 48th place in the largest division, moving up nine positions from her outlook at the 2K split.

Alayna Sparr (20:13) stayed within the top 100 for the Knights, followed by Kristina Ramos (20:21), Aiden Moriarty (20:32), Kassandra Ramos (20:58), Brianna Eaves (21:12) and Corinne Myers (22:25).

West County and Arcadia Valley were hoping to build upon a 1-2 team finish in Class 2, District 2, but ultimately landed outside of medal or trophy contention.

Two seniors powered the Bulldogs as Cameron Stevens (17:21) finished 45th and Cody Moore (17:34) crossed in 59th. Another state returner, Josiah Lantz (17:40), topped the Tigers in 68th.

Stevens challenged for a medal before peaking in 30th spot, and Moore was just behind him in 33rd at the 2K post before each lost some ground late.

Stevens smashed his time of 20:14 last season at Oak Hills Golf Center. Lantz did likewise after clocking 19:48 during his sophomore run.

Peter Roth (18:11) was the lone boys qualifier from Valle Catholic. Two from Kingston also reached the state level, but neither Noah Estes nor Dylan Morrison participated on Saturday.

AV was also represented by Dominic Mueller (18:32), Caden Dettmer (18:40), Cyrus Amelunke (19:39), Christopher Strange (20:09), Dawson Couch (20:15) and Eli Jones (20:57).

Korbyn Miller (18:44), Chris Porterfield (19:48), Evan Knox (22:43), Joshua Myes (23:26) and Levi Johnson (23:40) closed out the West County crew.

Fatima earned a sweep of the boys and girls Class 2 team championships, boasting a repeat crown on the girls’ side.

MAAA boys champion Brett Lynch (17:15) was the lone conference entry in the Class 3 boys event, and placed 55th in his varsity farewell after missing last year’s postseason due to injury.

The Class 1 boys faced the earliest and coldest start at 9 a.m., and Tanner Martinez (18:01) of Bismarck made a stellar recovery after running near the middle of the pack through the first kilometer.

The freshman posted his season best, and weaved through opponents from 87th place to finish just 11 positions out of the medals at 36th overall.

Janson King made her state debut as well for Bismarck, running 24:30 in the girls’ race. Olivia Ayers (24:23) of St. Paul Lutheran was three spots ahead of her at the line.

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