The Holden high school cross country teams competed at the Class 3, District 4 Cross Country Meet hosted by North Platte High School at Platte Ridge Park on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Junior Rett Hankins led the Holden teams on the day by turning in a state meet qualifying run with the top-30 finishers at the district meet moving onto the State Championships in Columbia.
Hankins placed 21st in the field of 114 boys finishers at the district meet to make the top-30 cut for the state meet. He timed out at 18:22 as Saturday’s competitors faced cold, damp conditions on the Platte Ridge course.
“Rett was a bit banged up on Saturday,” said Holden cross country coach Ben Kiger. “He twinged a muscle. I thought he was looking like he was hurting after the first mile, but he turned it on when he had to.”
Hankins will make his third state meet appearance after placing 20th at the district meet held at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph his freshman year, and placing 27th at the district meet held at Platte Ridge Park last year during his sophomore campaign. Both of those races featured more favorable weather conditions, though this year Hankins was able to cut nearly a full 36 seconds off of his district time from last season on the same course.
“The ability to cut 30 seconds off your time is huge in this sport, and that started last year during track season and the work he put in this summer,” said coach Kiger. “It is getting harder and harder to make the top-30 every year, so his quest for making state next year will have to start this spring. I’m looking forward to what he can do on Saturday.”
Hankins entered this year’s district meet as the only Eagle boys runner with district meet experience as the remainder of the boys team gained district meet experience for the first time.
Completing the Holden boys team’s showing were foreign exchange student Gerard Costa in 93rd place with a time of 22:43, freshman Evan Robinson in 103rd place with a time of 25:24, foreign exchange student Noel Petitpierre in 105th place with a time of 25:58, and junior Joseph Samilin in 114th place with a season-best time of 27:42.
“I want to thank the boys team,” said coach Kiger. “We only had one runner who was experienced at the high school level. Our times got better each meet, so that is all you can ask for. We will miss Gerard and Noel, and we thank them for joining us this year. I’m looking forward to Evan improving over the summer and getting ready for next year.”
On the girls side for Holden, junior Ava Young maintained her standard number-one spot on the Lady Eagles team. The previous two-time state meet qualifier, led the Lady Eagles at the district meet by placing 39th with a time of 23:35 to just miss the top-30 cutoff for the state championships.
Sophomore Abby Miller ran as the Lady Eagles’ number-two runner on the day. Miller placed 50th in the field of 90 finishers by clocking a time of 24:02.
Sophomore Malea Brewington turned in a season-best time of 24:31 to place 55th as Brewington and Young represented the only two runners on this year’s Lady Eagles’s team with prior district meet experience.
Foreign exchange student Elsa Grange placed 69th with a time of 25:36.
Freshman Madisyn Talley finished her first district meet with a 75th-place finish in a time of 26:18.
“I am very proud of our girls team,” said coach Kiger. “We had some injuries all year and we battled through them. We will work this summer to put us in a better position next year. We will miss Elsa, and it was so great that she was able to be part of our team.
“I would like to thank all of the runners and their families for getting them to practice, and supporting them,” emphasized coach Kiger. “Cross country is a unique sport. There is no one setting a screen for you, no one blocking for you, no one passing you the ball. It is a lonely sport and it is a hard sport.”
For Hankins, the season continues as he moves onto the Class 3 State Championships at Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia. The Class 3 boys race will be held this Saturday, Nov. 4 with a start time of 9 a.m.