By ERIC X. VICCARO
FARMINGTON — Four Ste. Genevieve High School runners finished among the top-24 contestants at the Farmington Invitational in Engler Park last Saturday.
Valle Catholic’s 2019 state qualifier Peter Roth also had a strong placement, taking 19th overall in 122 runners.
It wasn’t an easy early afternoon of running.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for fire danger and excessive winds, which caused runners to knife through a long straightaway near the soccer fields.
“The wind was a problem, but it was a problem for all the runners,” said Valle Catholic head coach Samer Zoughaib.
Ste. Genevieve head coach Sierra Boyd was surely pleased with the performance of her squad — paced by senior Devin St. Clair’s second-place finish in 17 minutes, 0.19 seconds.
“I am super excited and proud,” Boyd said. “The boys have worked hard all season, and they put it together in this race. I was happy to see the joy on all their faces (after the meet).”
Boyd said the wind provided a “mental battle,” but all of the contestants didn’t run against the gales the entire course.
Devin St. Clair was nearly five seconds off the winning time provided by Fredericktown’s Lynden Gruenke (16:55.85).
Engler Park is a spectacular venue for cross country, complete with mileposts provided by that city’s park and recreation department. Runners traversed a course featuring a mix of dirt, grass and chip-sealed pea gravel.
Zoughaib was satisfied with Peter Roth’s performance, which was a personal-best time for the sophomore in 18:07.51.
Overall, the Warriors were 12th out of 16 teams in the team standings. However, this was a deep field featuring host Farmington along with Potosi, Steelville and Valle’s nemesis Oak Ridge.
Levi Wiegand recorded Ste. Genevieve’s second-best finish in 16th with a time of 18:05.88. Nathan St. Clair and Mason Gegg were 21st and 24th, respectively, with times of 18:14.20 and 18:18.65.
Valle Catholic’s Josh Hoog, Braden Coleman and Jordan Bales all recorded top-70 performances. Hoog placed 60th (19:17.42), Coleman 66th (19:35.11) and Bales 70th (19:43.68).
On the girls’ side, state qualifier Mary Roth continues building toward the postseason with a personal-best time of 22:30.66, which was good enough for 39th place.
Teammate Camryn Basler was the top finishing girl among our schools, taking 37th with a time of 22:27.69.
Nicole Valle was next in 48th (23:29.78), Rachel Valle 58th (24:08.11) and Katie Kertz 69th (25:02.76). All of these girls helped contribute to the Warriors’ eighth-place finish in a field of 12 teams. There were 93 entrants overall.
Boyd opted to run her girls in the junior varsity race, allowing them to build confidence for their upcoming district meet.
Cylie Carlson and Dakotah Meadows placed respective third and ninth in the JV girls’ race. Carlson recorded a time of 22:40.75, and Meadows 23:23.57. Hannah Naeger was 38th.
Ste. Genevieve’s Corey Simmons II was the top city finisher in the JV boys’ race, 31st in 20:20.26.
In the middle school girls’ race, both Hollyn Zangaro and Bailey Ervin earned medals. Zangaro was fourth in 10:23.87 over a 2,500-meter layout and Ervin took eighth (10:35.84).