Dustin Miller expects returning state qualifiers Haddon Spikereit and Riley Hawkins to lead the way for his Webb City High School cross country teams this fall.
A senior, Spikereit will once again pace the boys team.
“I expect Haddon to be our No. 1,” Miller said. “He’s got a lot of experience, and he’s confident on the cross country course.”
In a solid junior season, Spikereit finished second at the conference meet, 10th at the sectional and 68th at the state meet.
Juniors Joseph Dawson and Owen Weller are expected to be the No. 2 and No. 3 runners, respectively. In 2018, Weller was ninth at the conference meet, while Dawson was 14th.
Sophomore Roman Borboa and seniors Marcos Encarnacion and Parker Hansen are three other runners Miller expects to contribute nicely.
The Webb City boys will look to repeat as the Central Ozark Conference champions.
“We have some experienced varsity guys back,” Miller said. “Our focus is on the process this year. We hope to win the conference meet. And a state berth is a goal every year. We don’t know if we’re capable of that yet. We’ve got some work to do, but the guys have great attitudes. They’ve worked really hard and they are mentally tough.”
On the girls side, the Cardinals return everyone from last year's team that finished second to Carl Junction at the COC meet.
Just a sophomore, Hawkins was 29th at last year’s sectional and 92nd at the state meet.
Other key performers on the girls team are seniors Alexia Jimenez and Abby Pendergraft and junior Mileah Metcalf. Jimenez finished eighth at last year’s COC meet, while Pendergraft was 13th and Metcalf was 15th.
“I expect Riley to do some big things for us and I think our pack will fight for each other,” Miller said. “We return everyone from last year’s girls team, so we’re experienced. This group has won a conference title and they’ve been to the state meet. I have no doubt if we stay mentally tough we can accomplish our goals.”
Webb City’s cross country teams will head to Bolivar on Saturday for the Southwest Missouri Cross Country Coaches Association Meet.