By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve High School cross country recalled a return to tradition during a Special Fall Recognition Event on Tuesday, Nov. 24, in the commons.
One of the biggest highlights of the year was on full display as head coach Sierra Boyd recalled Levi Wiegand diving at the finish line of the Class 3 district meet at the Arcadia Valley Complex in Ironton this past October.
Wiegand’s effort was even lauded during the most recent Ste. Genevieve R-II school district board of education meeting.
Through a short video presentation, SGHS principal Christopher Hoehne shared the accomplishment with board members.
Wiegand finished 14th at the district meet — which helped the Dragons qualify for state as a team. It marked Ste. Genevieve’s first state meet participation in several years.
The awards presentation featured a mix of people live in attendance and several others looking on through the Zoom teleconferencing application.
“All of the summer miles you put in really set us up for an awesome season,” Boyd said.
Boyd then went meet by meet, sharing highlights of the Dragons’ escapades on local courses ranging from West City Park in Festus to Engler Park in Farmington.
The Dragons also competed in a postal meet at Farmington, complete with bouncy music throughout the competition. Postal meets, essentially 3,200-meter runs along a track, were commonplace back in running’s heyday.
The Potosi Invitational also doubled as the Mineral Area Activities Association meet, with Devin St. Clair and Wiegand both earning all-conference honors with fourth- and 12th-place finishes, respectively.
Ste. Genevieve put it all together at the district meet, the first time all season the Dragons fielded complete boys and girls squads.
Four boys and two girls claimed all-district honors, with Devin St. Clair (3rd), Nathan St. Clair (9th), Mason Gegg (13th) and Wiegand on the boys’ side. Girls’ all-district performers were Dakotah Meadows (11th) and Cylie Carlson (14th).
All six of these runners, and Corey Simmons, qualified for the Missouri State High School Activities Association state meet.
“It was the first time for each of you at state, and that’s what made it special,” Boyd said.
Nathan St. Clair finished 20th at state, clocking in with a time of 17:07.9 on Nov. 5 at Gans Creek in Columbia, and earning both a medal and all-state accolades. The Dragons were 10th out of 16 teams.
The evening’s festivities closed with special awards for both the boys and girls. There also was an incentive program, with runners receiving Dairy Queen gift cards for all their hard work.
And all the boys signed in permanent black marker the back of the district second-place plaque the team received.
Preseason all-star honors went to Hannah Naeger and Gegg for logging the most miles in summer training.
The most improved runners were Serena Garcia on the girls’ side, and Nathan St. Clair for the boys.
Team leader honors went to both Devin St. Clair and Alison Braun. Both runners exemplified what it meant to be senior leaders on a developing squad.
Boyd talked about the future, with athletes expected to log winter miles — and distance runners will hopefully be on the track for the first time since the 2019 season.