The run may have been in Greene County, but the Ash Grove Invitational belonged to Christian County’s cross-country runners.
Clever’s Garrett Shadwick took first place in the boys’ race, while Chadwick’s Hailey Stephens took gold in the girls’ race Oct. 14.
Shadwick crossed the finish line in 17 minutes, just two seconds ahead of teammate Blake Miles. The Sparta duo of Tristan Eaton and Traven Eaton finished third and fourth, at 17:05 and 18:04 respectively.
Those finishes helped Clever and Sparta take the top two spots in the team competition, with Clever taking first. The Blue Jays placed six runners in the top 20, including Matthew McNabb (eighth, 18:44), Colby Gilbert (13th, 19:11), Ben Keith (17th, 19:34) and Austin Garrett (19th, 20:07).
The Eatons, meanwhile, were joined in the top 20 by Logan Wood (ninth, 18:46) and Jerry Ellison (12th, 19:02). Sean Sanders and Jordan Wilson also ran for Sparta coach Monica Wallace in the race.
Spokane was led by Stephen Hosier, who took fifth with a time of 18:06. Johnathan Hruska, Dawson Maples and Cade Mertens also competed for the Owls.
Chadwick’s Gavin Herd, running solo, took seventh overall. He finished the 5K race in 18:36.
Stephens finished the course in 21:34 to win the girls’ race, just beating Spokane’s Danielle Hopper (22:06) across the finish line. Sparta’s Ashley Hutchinson (23:21) and Clever’s Alaitha Keith (23:52) and Leila Ingram (23:52) rounded out the top five.
Clever took the team championship in the girls’ race. Ashley Pearce, Audra Addison, Alonna Johnson and Sam Hook all finished in the top 20. It was an historic day for the program.
“This was the first meet a Clever girls' team has won in the history of the program,” Clever coach Dave McNabb said. “The girls won three medals and had four runners set PRs in the meet. It was really fun to watch these runners get a chance to compete for a team win. They really stepped up to the challenge.”
Kayla Smith (24:35) took eight and Mikyla Hutchinson (24:58) finished ninth for Sparta. Spokane was also represented at Ash Grove by Karinne Coberly (10th, 25:45), Manon Le (12th, 26:20) and Karli Habel (27:54).