A standout performer throughout the season, Webb City senior Haddon Spikereit has been named the high school boys cross country runner of the year, selected by The Joplin Globe's sports department.
Spikereit's season got off to a fast start with victories at the Southwest Missouri Cross Country Coaches Association Invitational in Bolivar and the Carthage Invitational. He then finished 14th in the big-school division of the Missouri Southern Stampede.
Down the stretch, he placed third in both the Central Ozark Conference and the district race as well as eighth in the sectional meet before struggling in the state meet, taking 70th.
"Haddon is a phenomenal leader, one of the best leaders we've ever had," Webb City coach Dustin Miller said. "Even though the state race was a huge disappointment for Haddon, he handled himself with class. He didn't let his emotions get in the way of his teammates having a great day. That just speaks volumes to the kind of character Haddon Spikereit is."
Spikereit's personal best of 15 minutes, 58 seconds ranks second in school history and came in a strong Class 4 sectional meet that included the eventual Class 4 team and individual state champions.
"He's second behind Ryan Riddle, which is not a bad place to be," Miller said. "That says quite a bit with the string of runners we've had lately. ... He prides himself on being fit. He knows he's not the fastest guy out there as far as foot speed turnover, but he's gutsy, gritty, consistent. He's learned how to sacrifice for the team.
"He had a great season. What stood above everything else, we kind of flipped every thing on end this year. We talked more about sacrifices as seniors. I had them go last to some of our meals and had the freshmen go first. This senior group, led by Haddon, didn't bat an eye at it. ... There wasn't any complaint about 'I waited my four years and now I don't get a chance.' It was 'I have an opportunity and this is what Coach needs us to do, so that's what I'm going to do.'"
Spikereit plans to continue his cross country career at Ozark Christian College.