Log in

Taking two-plus minutes off her time from a year ago, Ozark's Estes COC runner-up


Elsie Estes placed runner-up at the COC Championships on Tuesday and perhaps most impressively, topped the girls field in most improved time from last year to this year.

The Ozark sophomore shaved a remarkable 2:22 off her time of 21:32 from a year ago en route to posting a personal record of 19:10. None of the leaders in the girls field even approached her improvement.

“It makes me feel good to know that the work I've put in paid off,” Estes said. “It comes from consistency in me training, being there every day to put in the work.”

Estes was pleased with her finishing kick. She held off Nixa’s MacKinzie Harris, who placed third (19:14).

“I finished as hard as I could. I pushed pretty hard,” Estes said.

Estes fell behind the group of lead runners in the early going at Nixa’s Inman Elementary Course. A slow start had her in catch-up mode. 

“I struggle getting up there at first,” Estes said of her starts. “It’s difficult because there are so many people. The first lap, I made my way up.” 

Republic’s Gracie Troester was a runaway winner (18:28). Her winning time of a year ago was 19:00.

Estes enjoys having an elite runner the likes of Troester to chase after.

“It's hard to keep up with her, but I like running with her,” Estes said. “I see her in track a lot, too. She's kind of what motivates me. She's strong. I look up to her.”

Ozark had four finishers among the top nine. The Lady Tigers’ Madison Felton was seventh (20:09), Lane Garner eighth (20:15) and Sydney Lister ninth (20:17).

Ozark won the team championship with 48 points, nine ahead of runner-up Nixa.

Ozark already has collected three COC championships this fall. The Lady Tigers’ volleyball team and the Tigers’ soccer team also won COC titles.

Nixa’s Adelyn Jenssen was 11th (20:25), Cassidy Williams 12th (20:26), Briana Bidinger 14th (20:30) and Meliah Copley 17th (20:43).

In the boys race, Nixa’s Aaron Ashley took :35 seconds off his time from last year on his way to a third-place finish (15:48).

Ashley led five Eagles in the top nine. Devon Kemp was fifth (15:59), Long Richart sixth (16:02), Zane Novinger eighth (16:07) and Reyes Martinez ninth (16:12).

Joplin’s Ian Horton claimed the boys championship in 15:28.

Nixa won the team title with 31 points, 28 points ahead of the field.