The Joplins boys and girls cross country teams finished second and third, respectively, in their divisions Saturday in the season-opening Richard Clark SWCCCA Invitational in Bolivar.
The event included more than 30 schools and saw both Eagles teams finish ahead of all other Central Ozark Conference foes. Of the 10 runners who scored points for Joplin's teams, not one was a senior.
“We knew coming in that we had a good, young squad and felt pretty good about our team, especially with the addition of some freshmen,” Joplin coach Dustin Dixon said. “Our freshmen class overall is really good, even through the junior varsity teams. So we feel good about the groups we’ll have in the coming years as well.
“It felt good to go out and run well and actually see it happen on a race day as opposed to a practice setting. But at the same time, we’re not going to surprise anybody now. They know what we’ve got and we have to keep working hard because the teams in our conference aren’t just going to bow down and let us have it.”
Eleven more area teams competed in the meet: Carthage, Carl Junction, College Heights Christian, East Newton, Jasper, Lamar, Liberal, Monett, Nevada, Sarcoxie and Webb City.
Joplin tallied 123 team points to finish runner-up behind Kickapoo (75). Carthage (140), Bolivar (216) and East Newton (220) rounded out the top five teams.
The Eagles had five individuals place in the top 37. Hobbs Campbell was the highest placer and took 12th with a time of 16 minutes, 41 seconds, while Nicholas Horton took 22nd, Evan Matlock 34th, Ian Horton 36th and Zaben Barnes 37th.
Third-place Carthage was paced by Collin Emmert and Logan Carnes, who had individual finishes of 40th and 41st, respectively.
Kelton Sorrell secured a finishing time of 16:37 to take 11th for East Newton, which was fifth in the standings.
Webb City took seventh as a team and was led by Roman Borboa, who crossed the finish line in 16:28 to take sixth.
Joe Kremp clocked a time of 16:29 to lead Lamar with an eighth-place finish, while Collin Emmert placed 40th to lead Carl Junction
El Dorado Springs’ Daelyn Ackley, last year's Class 2 state champion, won the individual title with a time of 15:45.
Jennalee Dunn and Alexandra Carson placed 12th and 13th, respectively, to aid the Joplin girls to a third-place team finish with 138 points.
West Plains (45) and Kickapoo (64) took first and second in the team standings, while Webb City (163) finished fourth and Nixa (197) fifth.
All five of the scored runners for Joplin placed top-64. Allie Keizer claimed 34th, Sage Mitchell 45th and Cylee Gilreath 64th.
Hally Philpot, Riley Hawkins, and Abi Street finished 24th, 29th and 32nd to lead Webb City.
The Lamar girls, competing with just three runners, had a 17th-place finisher in Kiersten Potter, who crossed the finish line in 20:34.
Alana Montez took 40th to lead the way for Carl Junction.
Blue Eye’s Riley Arnold, the defending Class 1 state champion, won the race in 18:21.