Four California runners advance to state cross country championships

Four members of the California High School varsity cross country team were among the top 15 individual finishers at the Class 2 District 4 Meet Saturday at Westphalia to garner All-District honors and advance to the state cross country championships Saturday, Nov. 9, at Oak Hills Golf Center, Jefferson City. From left are California's Adam Burkett and Zach Merrill, who placed fourth and 11th, respectively, in the boys' race, and Katie Imhoff and Leah Korenberg, who placed ninth and 14th, respectively, in the girls' race.

Four members of the California High School varsity cross country team were among the top 15 individual finishers at the Class 2 District 4 Meet Saturday at Westphalia to garner All-District honors and advance to the state cross country championships Saturday, Nov. 9, at Oak Hills Golf Center, Jefferson City. From left are California's Adam Burkett and Zach Merrill, who placed fourth and 11th, respectively, in the boys' race, and Katie Imhoff and Leah Korenberg, who placed ninth and 14th, respectively, in the girls' race. Photo by April Arnett.

The California High School cross country team competed at the Class 2 District 4 Meet Saturday at Westphalia, where two Lady Pintos, Katie Imhoff and Leah Korenberg, and two Pintos, Adam Burkett and Zach Merrill, finished in the top 15 individually to earn All-District honors and advance to the state cross country championships Saturday, Nov. 9, at Oak Hills Golf Center, Jefferson City.

California's Imhoff finished the girls' race in ninth place with 22:02, while Korenberg placed 14th with 22:11.

Fatima won the team competition with 20, followed by Blair Oaks with 76; California with 87; and Steelville with 101.

Fatima also won the team competition in the boys' division with 23. Southern Boone followed with 75; Blair Oaks with 75; and California with 87.

California's Burkett placed fourth with 18:00, while Merrill finished 11th with 18:18.

"It's always tough to not move on to state as a team, especially for the seniors who have put in the hard work and time throughout high school," California Coach Kenny Goans said. "We were very parallel as a team with Blair Oaks on the girls' side, while on the boys' side, we were parallel with Southern Boone and Blair Oaks. We just came up short."

Goans added, "I know we put pressure on those teams and we raced with a ton of heart. We have decreased the gap quite a bit since conference. Fatima is in a league of their own. They have great talent right now, and a pretty good shot at winning the state title in both the boys' and girls' divisions."

California's JV boys finished in first place with 50, followed by Linn with 64, and Blair Oaks with 104.

California's Micaiah Garcia finished third in the JV division with 20:25, followed by Cord Mitchell in ninth place with 21:32, and Tyler Long, 10th with 21:44.

"Our JV boys finished the season strong as they took another first place in their division," Goans said. "What made this special for me was the fact that the JV boys knew no medals or trophies were going to be handed out, they just raced to race."

The Class 2 boys' race at the state cross country championships Saturday at Oak Hills Golf Center will begin at 9 a.m., while the Class 2 girls' race will begin at 10:15 a.m.

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