Two months after their season ended at the Class 3 State Championships in Columbia, the California Middle School and High School cross country teams celebrated the 2022 season with a celebratory banquet Sunday afternoon. Head Coach Kenny Goans expressed to the crowd at the banquet his joy at all the accomplishments the Pintos and Lady Pintos earned throughout the season.
For middle school cross country, the team grew from two runners to 13 runners during the offseason. With a bigger and more well-conditioned team, the Pintos and Lady Pintos won the Tri-County Conference Championship for the first time in team history. California defeated conference rival Southern Boone to win the championship. At Sunday's banquet, eighth-grader Connor Farmer was named the Pintos' Most Valuable Runner, eighth-grader Caleb Howard won the Pinto Strong Award and eighth-grader Gideon Banderman won the Most Improved Runner award. For the Lady Pintos, seventh-grader Maddie Rademan was awarded Most Valuable Runner, seventh-grader Atley Howard won the Pinto Strong Award and eighth-grader Evelyn Ponce was named the Lady Pintos' Most Improved Runner.
For the High School cross country team, two runners -- senior Ian Miller and sophomore Kenzleigh Goans -- qualified for the Class 3 State Championships. Goans finished eighth place at the State Championships, defeating a Southern Boone runner that had defeated Goans for three-straight years. Miller accomplished his goal of making the State Championships as a senior and took 105th place. For their strong seasons, Miller and Goans both won California's Most Valuable Runner award. Senior Hayden Hern was awarded the Pinto Strong Award and junior Hilary Roney was named California's Most Improved Runner. California's Academic All-State team consisted of Miller, Goans, Hern, Roney, junior Andrew Reed and sophomore Miranda Lewellen.
California cross country will return for a new season on Sept. 2 in Jefferson City.