POTOSI – Alayna Sparr trailed Farmington cross country classmate Breanna Mathes when the final strides were taken in three previous treks across the formidable inclines at Potosi City Park.
But amid more palatable conditions in comparison to the relentless heat and humidity of last year’s Potosi Invitational meet, it was Sparr who showed a dominant group of Knights toward the finish line.
Sparr continued her sparkling senior season with a milestone effort on Saturday morning, claiming her first MAAA individual title while placing second overall among 80 participants.
Gavin Hunt likewise earned top conference honors for the first time in the boys varsity division, helping Farmington sweep the team championships with 22 high school programs in attendance.
Notre Dame sophomore Lauren Eftink (20:44) outpaced all other girls in the 5-kilometer test. But three Farmington challengers followed.
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Sparr (20:52) maintained a personal trend throughout the last six weeks of improving results from her junior season, this time finishing two positions and 25 seconds better.
Mathes (21:05) seized third spot overall, and junior Chloe Wood (21:09) surged to fourth after crossing 13th at the event last year by trimming away an impressive 63 seconds.
Kristina Ramos (21:48) joined three teammates as repeat all-conference medalists in eighth, and junior Aiden Moriarty (22:08) gave the Knights a fifth runner inside the overall top 10.
The Farmington girls earned a total of 27 points – just 12 removed from a perfect score – and picked up a sixth all-conference honor from sophomore Brooke-lyn Forman (22:41).
Mathes chased and was barely denied her fourth MAAA individual crown, a feat last accomplished by former NCAA Division I all-American and current pro Taylor Werner of Ste. Genevieve.
With both Central and Valley just commencing their inaugural cross country seasons in August, history was made as all 12 MAAA member schools raced at one location for the first time.
Competition was fierce for league awards given to the top 12 boys and girls finishers. The Farmington boys seized five such accolades while edging JCAA program Hillsboro for the team victory.
Hillsboro twins Josh Allison (16:52) and Jonah Allison (17:25) blistered the surface to place first and third for the Hawks with Steelville junior Connor Diaz (17:17) between them as runner-up.
Hunt (17:28) assumed the conference title reins from Farmington graduate and current Missouri S&T runner Adam Perry by improving 27 seconds after capturing fifth-best medalist distinction last year.
He galloped alongside sophomore teammate Mason Currington (17:44) – who was fifth overall – until gradually widening a gap over the last mile.
Caden Mungle (17:58) finished 10th to gain another highlight in his junior campaign while Ethan Anderson (18:22) and Evan Fuller (18:30) completed the Knights’ team score of 50 points.
Ezekiel Sisk (17:46.41) of Potosi finished 65 seconds behind Noah Estes (17:46.57) in the 2020 edition, but edged the hard-charging Kingston senior at the line in an entertaining battle for sixth position.
Estes, who was conference runner-up two years ago, padded his legacy on a budding Kingston team by becoming its first three-time MAAA medalist.
Emma Dettmer (21:42) has stepped forward this fall to lead an Arcadia Valley girls squad that hopes to successfully defend its Class 2 girls state title next month.
The rising sophomore held off a pair of Cape Central pursuers to finish fifth overall while Valle Catholic freshman Madelyn Griffard (21:54) took ninth in her varsity debut at the event.
West County senior Sydney Cash (22:17) reached the endpoint in 11th. Celeste Sansegraw (22:18) of Potosi in 13th and Camryn Basler (22:25) of Valle in 14th matched her as multi-time MAAA medalists.
Alyson Skiles (22:32) also made that cut and helped the Potosi girls place third as a team. The top 30 athletes in all varsity, junior varsity and middle school divisions earned conventional race medals.
Valle Catholic junior Peter Roth (18:03), Fredericktown senior Lyndan Gruenke (18:09) and Ste. Genevieve senior Nathan St. Clair (18:17) finished in boys succession from 12th to 14th.
Other all-conference honorees included North County junior Jackson Leeds (18:44) and Ste. Genevieve senior Levi Wiegand (18:47), who also brought home the final available MAAA medal last year.
Trinity Russell (22:53) of AV, Allison Land (23:17) of Potosi, Lilly Earley (23:18) of Farmington, Ava Laut (23:28) of Farmington and Katie Kertz (23:37) of Valle Catholic landed top-30 results in girls action.
Farmington senior Logan Fuchs (18:48) and Valle Catholic junior Braden Coleman (19:01) did likewise among 107 varsity boys.
Dillon Mueller (19:21) passed more than a dozen competitors over the last mile to wind up 34th atop the Arcadia Valley boys contingent.
Leading times for Bismarck were provided by juniors Tanner Martinez (20:22) and Janson King (24:51).
Central was paced by Cole Crocker (20:26) and Karlee LaChance (24:39), whose experience as a track sprinter was evident during a late kick.
Girls Team Scores:
1. Farmington 27; 2. Hillsboro 107; 3. Potosi 116; 4. Notre Dame 139; 5. Valle Catholic 144; 6. Cape Central 149; 7. Pacific 159; 8. Arcadia Valley 169; 9. Ste. Genevieve 220; 10. Poplar Bluff 221; 11. Central 242; 12. West County 270
Boys Team Scores:
1. Farmington 50; 2. Hillsboro 66; 3. Steelville 141; 4. Potosi 168; 5. Notre Dame 187; 6. Herculaneum 195; 7. Cape Central 199; 8. Valle Catholic 204; 9. Pacific 207; 10. Arcadia Valley 229; 11. Ste. Genevieve 231; 12. Poplar Bluff 282; 13. Fredericktown 316; 14. Kingston 329
MAAA All-Conference Girls:
1. Alayna Sparr, FARM, 20:52.51; 2. Breanna Mathes, FARM, 21:05.70; 3. Chloe Wood, FARM, 21:09.91; 4. Emma Dettmer, AV, 21:42.19; 5. Kristina Ramos, FARM, 21:48.50; 6. Madelyn Griffard, VC, 21:54.29; 7. Aiden Moriarty, FARM, 22:08.52; 8. Sydney Cash, WC, 22:17.22; 9. Celeste Sansegraw, POT, 22:18.16; 10. Camryn Basler, VC, 22:25.07; 11. Alyson Skiles, POT, 22:32.71; 12. Brooke-lyn Forman, FARM, 22:41.75
MAAA All-Conference Boys:
1. Gavin Hunt, FARM, 17:28.46; 2. Mason Currington, FARM, 17:44.28; 3. Ezekiel Sisk, POT, 17:46.41; 4. Noah Estes, KING, 17:46.57; 5. Caden Mungle, FARM, 17:58.93; 6. Peter Roth, VC, 18:03.87; 7. Lyndan Gruenke, FRED, 18:09.71; 8. Nathan St. Clair, SG, 18:17.68; 9. Ethan Anderson, FARM, 18:22.74; 10. Evan Fuller, FARM, 18:30.14; 11. Jackson Leeds, NC, 18:44.42; 12. Levi Wiegand, SG, 18:47.75