Webb City state cross country runners: (GIRLS) Emma McKinzie, Olivia Klotz, Brooke Collard, Emily Countryman, Brooke Hedger, Hadley White and Amelia Antillon. 

(BOYS) Dakota Grove, Andrew Dawson, Mason Hedger, Noah Lankard, Evan Stevens, Fenton Rice and Spencer Kendall. Coach Dustin Miller is top right.

Evan Stevens earns all-state while boys place 8th and girls place 16th

The Webb City boys placed eighth and the girls placed 16th in the Class 5 state cross country meet Saturday at the Gans Creek course at Columbia.

Senior Evan Stevens was a medalist and earned all-state status by placing in the top 30 individually. His season-best time of 15:45.4 put him at 28th place.

“Our boys went out a little too conservative, but battled throughout the race to have a solid eighth-place showing,” says Dustin Miller, who coaches both the boys and girls.

Besides Stevens, he says senior Mason Hedger “had another phenomenal state race (15:55.6) to finish 34th.”

Running as a pack and moving up were junior Spencer Kendall, who ran his season-best, 16:21, for 63rd; sophomore Andrew Dawson, 79th, with a time of 16:30, and sophomore Noah Lankard, running his season-best, 16:35, for 85th.

Senior Dakota Grove also ran his season-best, 17.60, for 135th, and sophomore Fenton Rice finished 147th with a time of 17:44.

“I’m proud of the consistency and grit this group has shown over the past year,” says Miller. 2022 was one of our worst performing years in program history. We returned the entire team and focused on grit, and now they are the best team in program history. Truly a remarkable improvement from 2022 to 2023.”

The girls are a younger group that Miller says gained some experience on the state level.

“Our ladies also went out too conservative, moved up during the second kilometer of the (5k) race, but our inexperience showed and we lost focus in the middle of the race. We just dug too big of a hole at the start of the race.

“These ladies are very young and have learned a lot this season. They are starting to learn how to completely trust their teammates and improve on their consistency. The sky’s the limit for this group.”

Sophomore Brooke Hedger led the team at 19:23, her season-best, to place 47th.

Senior Emily Countryman ran her season-best (19:52) to place 85th.

Freshman Amelia Antillon finished 106th with her season-best, 20:06. Freshman Olivia Klotz came in 124th at 20:28, followed by freshman Emma McKinzie 127th, sophomore Brooke Collard, 149th, and freshman Hadley White, 164th.