The third edition of the Forest Park Cross Country Festival was presented by National City and word had obviously spread about the event with many more out-of-town teams traveling to the meet including traditional State powers Jefferson City and Lee’s Summit North. For the first year the fields were split into two divisions to accommodate the high number of entries. Warm temps prevented any possible course record attempts but the races still sizzled with tight team and individual battles across the board.
No race was closer than the battle for the GO! St. Louis varsity girls green division title between Jefferson City and Kickapoo. The two squads were tied at 96 points through five runners with Jeff City then claiming the championship on the strength of their sixth runner, Hilary Weaver, who finished 40th. The individual race was won by one of the top female distance runners in Missouri State History, Festus’ Alyssa Allison. The senior added a Festival title to her already stellar resume’ that now includes a total of eight individual State Championships in cross country and track.
On the boys side hosts Saint Louis U. High defended their title from 2007 with a resounding 72 point win over Kickapoo. The individual race was much closer with defending champ Jacob Swearingen keeping the Potosi winning streak alive with a two second victory over Kickapoo junior Danny Thater. Swearingen would go on to win another Missouri State Championship in November as well as qualify individually for the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
Other meet highlights included new middle school records for the boys and girls. Cape Central’s Billy Leighton ran 6:40.1 to take home the boys championship while Potosi’s Sarah Jacobsen covered the 2k course in 7:41.9 to win the girls race. In the junior varsity boys green division Rockhurst was able to upset Saint Louis U. High by two points while the ladies from Rock Bridge dominated the JV girls green division scoring only 26 points.