By ERIC X. VICCARO
IRONTON — Ste. Genevieve High School has a long, storied tradition in the sport of cross country.
That kind of tradition returned on Saturday as the Ste. Genevieve boys’ qualified for state as a team — and two Dragon girls also punched their tickets to this week’s state meet at Gans Creek Park in Columbia.
“Tradition is something we discuss with the athletes on a regular basis,” said Ste. Genevieve head coach Sierra Boyd. “They know the names of the athletes that came before them. It is awesome for this group of athletes to begin making their own tradition, and we are excited for the present and future.”
Ste. Genevieve had been notably absent from state meets in recent years, with the most recent qualifiers Camden Sadler and Sarah Moore in 2017.
The last time the entire boys’ roster qualified for state was the 2016 second-place group behind Festus.
Experienced senior Devin St. Clair paced the Dragons yet again, clocking in with a time of 17:24.4 at the Arcadia Valley Sports Complex on Saturday. This marked the second time Ste. Genevieve had run at this facility this season.
That was good enough for third place behind Fredericktown’s Lyndan Gruenke and Cody Glisson of Herculaneum.
Nathan St. Clair was next for Ste. Genevieve, placing ninth with a time of 18:04.7.
Mason Gegg and Levi Wiegand raced in with 13th- and 14th-place finishes, which helped Ste. Genevieve take second place overall as a team ahead of Potosi. Gegg’s time was 18:28.6, and Wiegand at 18:31.3.
Former Ste. Genevieve runner and current high school principal Dr. John Boyd pumped his fist in the air after seeing Gegg and Wiegand cross the line — a euphoric moment on this crisp, autumn day.