Click on the tabs below for a recap of the meet that year. Scroll down to view the course records and the all-time top 25 times for boys and girls.
The sun shone brightly on the 12th annual Forest Park Cross Country Festival. A beautiful blue sky graced Aviation Fields as 4,255 athletes from 265 teams in 7 states took to the start line on a warm day in September.
Mirroring last year’s results, it was the “out-of-towners” who took the top spots in both Varsity Green races. Victoria Findley, a senior from Blue Springs South, made it a two-peat, defending her title in a highly anticipated race against Washington’s Mikayla Reed who held on for second. On the team side, the top six schools were all from outside St. Louis. What shattered the glass was Fatima, a Class 2 team, slaying the big school giants and taking the team title beating Blue Springs South by a mere two points.
Victor Mugeche, a senior from Blue Springs, was pushed through two miles in the Varsity Boys Green race by Camren Fischer of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Unbroken, Mugeche made a big move in the last mile, and crossed the finish line with a 30 second lead over Fischer. His time of 15:27 earned him the 17th fastest high school boys 5k time in FPXC history – the only time of the day to get on the leader board. On the team side, three “visiting” teams took the podium spots with Rockhurst pulling out the win with 83 points over Blue Springs’ 91 points and St. Thomas Aquinas’ 99 points.
In the freshmen races, Adam Perry from Farmington led the freshmen boys field for the win. Rockhurst, who missed the team title by just 1 point last year, packed up well to dominate the team competition. Maggie Jones of Sullivan sped away with the individual freshmen girls’ title. Lafayette put 5 girls in the top 20 to dominate on the team side perhaps giving a glimpse of a bright future for the Lafayette girls program.
The only meet record broken this year was in the Men’s Open 5k with Bram Osterhout lowering the time to 16:26.
To say the 11th running of the Forest Park Cross Country Festival was a bit on the muddy side would be an understatement. Several days of rain prior to the meet saturated the ground, and while precipitation let up Saturday morning and it was a beautiful day, the course turned sloppy quickly. Even though the course wasn’t conducive to PR performances, muddy memories were made. And many memories at that as FPXC saw record numbers again with 9 states represented, 475 teams and 4,500+ athletes.
In the Varsity Green Divisions, it was teams and individuals who traveled to St. Louis, not the locals, who had the strongest showings. The Varsity Green Girls 5k was won by Victoria Findley, a junior, from Blue Springs South. Findley led for the majority of the race and won by a 13 second margin over Gabriela Kohring from Webster Groves. Findley brought her team along for the victory as well with Blue Springs South topping second place Fatima by just 8 points.
Clayton Adams of Kearney made a move late in the Varsity Boys Green race to take the lead from defending champ Ben Naeger of Ste. Genevieve. Adams, a senior, who finished 4th in 2015 pushed ahead for a 6 second victory this year. On the team side, St. Thomas Aquinas from Kansas won fairly handily (87 points), lead by a fourth place finish from Alex Gill, over Kansas City’s Rockhurst (156 points).
In the freshmen races, Jonathon Coffman from Herculaneum led the freshmen boys field for the win. Festus edged Rockhurst for the team title by just 1 point! For the second year in a row, Nerinx had the individual winner in the freshmen girls race. Allie Brown was the freshmen girls champion and brought her teammates from Nerinx along earning the team title as well.
The only meet record broken this year was in the Women’s Open 5k when the course was arguably in the best shape. However you can’t argue with the talent of Jackie Pirtle-Hall who smashed the record by nearly 2 minutes and posting a new time to beat of 18:01.
In the midst of all of the changes, the most important elements of the meet remained the same. FPXC delivered an electric and exciting atmosphere to race and spectate, showcased of top talent in the Midwest region and celebrated the sport of cross country with a first-class event.
While the new course ran a bit slower than its counterpart on Central Fields, the performances were memorable none-the-less. Both the boys and girls Varsity Green races were won by individuals from Ste. Genevieve and teams from Lafayette. Ben Naeger, a junior from Ste. Genevieve, took the boys crown with a time of 15:25 (faster than any collegiate time from the day before), while powerhouse Lafayette packed it in with a 2-3-5 finish from their top three runners to handily secure the team title scoring 46 points.
On the women’s side, a familiar silhouette, Taylor Werner of Ste. Genevieve was out in front almost from the gun pushing the pace throughout the race. The last three years of this race focused on the Hannah Long v. Taylor Werner “rivalry,” however in her senior year it was all Taylor. She won the race by 10 seconds with a time of 17:38. Lafayette proved to be the team to beat (and no one did) with Senior Anna West finishing in second place helping her team to victory.
Other meet highlights included Anna Greene from Nerinx taking home the Freshman girls race title with Lindbergh coming out on top on the team side. Maxwell McDaniel of Festus broke the tape first in the boys freshman race, but it was Rockhurst who won the freshman boys team title by a landslide.
The boys team championship was also a 17-point win as the young men of Festus up-ended the defending champs from O’Fallon (IL). The tables were turned on the individual side though, with O’Fallon’s Dorrian Gordon outdistancing Festus’ Michael Karls by five seconds to take the crown. Gordon kept the title in the family after his teammate Patrick Perrier had won the 2013 race.
Highlights from the rest of the day included Varsity White Division titles for Washington freshman Mikayla Reed on the girls side and Westminster Christian Academy junior Andrew Murray for the boys. Owasso (OK) grabbed convincing team victories in both races. Nerinx Hall’s Sloane Montgomery took home the win in the freshman girls race while Rock Bridge’s Jacob Ripley “ripped” it up in the freshman boys race, leading his squad to victory.
While the boys race did not disappoint, the girls race took the billing as the most anticipated race of the day. Coming off an amazing freshman year Taylor Werner of Ste. Genevieve was back and looking to defend her title which she took from 2011 FPXC champ Hannah Long of Eureka. The two girls raced away from the field in the opening half mile and while many were expecting another dual similar to 2012, Taylor had other plans. Racing away she outdistanced Hannah by 50 seconds and broke her own meet record by 13 seconds lowering it 16:47, the fastest time in the country at that time. Both girls joined Kauppila and Perrier in San Diego in December at the Footlocker Championships. Taylor’s single stick, led the Dragons of Ste. Gen to their first FPXC Team Championship defeating eventual Class 4 state Francis Howell by 24 points.
In other races, Cam Byrley of Parkview edged super soph Malik Holman of Mexico for his second straight title in the Boys Varsity White Race. Winning by .2 seconds it was the closest finish of the day. Platte County made the trip from the west side of the state to take home the Varsity Boys White Team Championship by a massive 83 points. Courtney Rogers of Lutheran St. Peters (18:47.4) rounded out her FPXC career taking home the Girls Varsity White individual title, one she also took home as a freshman. Herculaneum’s girls squad led the way on the team side besting a tough Clayton squad by 37 points.
The boys individual race was a heavyweight battle between three former top finishers. Noah Kauppila of Marquette pulled it off on the homestretch over O’Fallon teammates Patrick Perrier and Alex Riba to win in 15:18, the third fastest time ever recorded at the meet.
A tight team battle was atop the girls varsity green between 4 time defending state champions Lee’s Summit West, Eureka and Rock Bridge as only 8 points separated them on the podium. There were no upsets here today as Lee’s Summit West was able to put it together with a 54 second split from 1-5 to win. Eureka held off Rock Bridge for 2nd place respectively.
There was no competition in the boys race as O’Fallon (IL) scored a meet record low (since the festival moved to two divisions) team score of 66 points putting 5 in the top 27 to take home the team title by 75 points over Rock Bridge.
Other meet highlights included meet records in the freshman girls 3k from Jackson’s Chelsea Drumm (11:11.8), the middle school boys 2k from Ste. Genevieve Ben Naeger (6:14.4) and the middle school girls 2k Anastasia Compton from Jackson (7:19.6). Varsity white division titles went to Elise Marker from Villa Duchesne and Parkview Junior Cameron Byrley.
While the top two girls were new to the high school ranks the boys individual race was a heavyweight battle between the top two finishers from 2010 in Rockhurst’s Zach Herriott and Caleb Wilfong from Rock Bridge. Herriott, runner-up the previous year, left no doubt as to whose day it was, gapping the field early on his way to a national-class time of 15:10. Wilfong, the defending champ, came up big in the final stretch to pass Festus senior Drew White for second.
The Rock Bridge girls put on a show by scoring just 86 points to take home the team title, good for a 50-point win over runners-up Eureka. Not to be outdone the Rock Bridge boys also grabbed top honors, besting Rockhurst by 57 points.
Other meet highlights included meet records in the freshman boys 3k from Rockhurst’s Carson Bode (9:52.2) and the middle school boys 2k from Poplar Bluff’s Isaiah Williams (6:35.3). Varsity white division titles went to Kaitlyn Fischer from Herculaneum and St. Charles West junior Sheldon Keence.
On the boys side the field was as deep as it had ever been with the defending champion, Caleb Hoover from College Heights Christian, facing off against the top runners from all over the State of Missouri including Zach Herriott from Rockhurst in Kansas City, Caleb Wilfong from Columbia Rock Bridge, Festus’ Drew White and hometown favorite Tim Rackers from Saint Louis University High School. In one of the meet’s all-time best finishes it came down to Herriott and Wilfong surging back and forth over the final 400 meters with Wilfong, who had looked beaten coming up the final rise, digging down and coming out on top over the final straightaway.
The team battles were exciting as always, especially on the girls’ side, with Lee’s Summit North edging out Jefferson City by just two points. On the boys’ side Festival first-timers O’Fallon (IL) ran away with the title, winning by a whopping 70 points over Marquette University High School from Wisconsin. The three-time defending champs from host Saint Louis U. High had to settle for third.
Other meet highlights included a 1-2 finish from McCluer North teammates Nicholas Stewart and Drew Mueller in the Varsity boys white division, a 20:19 victory from freshman Lutheran St. Peters Courtney Rogers in the varsity girls white division and a sprint-to-the-finish in the freshman girls race that saw Kaitlyn Cravens from Gelndale edge out Mckenzie Elam from Oak Ridge by one tenth of a second.
The course was in very good condition and the girls, especially, took full advantage with 20 athletes breaking the 20 minute barrier. Jefferson City’s Briana Watson led the way in 18:59.8, the second-fastest time ever at the Festival. Watson pulled away from a lead pack that included her teammate Conradette King, MICDS’ Grace Bridwell and a host of others. On the team side despite Jeff City’s big 1-2 punch it was the ladies from Springfield Kickapoo that took home the title with 73 points led by Liz Reida and Lauren Collette. Jeff City, Lee’s Summit North, Jackson and Eureka rounded out the top five.
The storyline for the boys was whether or not junior Caleb Hoover from tiny College Heights Christian would be able to take on the top runners from all the big schools at the biggest meet of the year. The answer was a resounding yes. Hoover pulled away in the second mile and never looked back, running 15:35.2 and moving into third on the all-time list for the Festival. Grabbing runner-up honors was Marquette University High senior Jake Erschen who traveled down from Wisconsin to take on Missouri’s best. Erschen and his Marquette teammates finished second in the team battle to hosts Saint Louis University High School, who won their third straight Festival title.
Other meet highlights included middle school records for the boys and girls for the second year in a row. Potosi’s Thomas Gross won the boys race in 6:38.8 and his teammate Kassie Rawlings shattered the girls record in 7:23.6. Perhaps no race was more impressive though than the freshman girls race where Eureka’s Angie Sumner blitzed an 11:12.3 to smash the old record by almost a minute.
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.
The hosts from St. Louis University High School won a close battle over Marquette University High School from Milwaukee to take the boys team title at the Festival. SLUH went on to finish the season undefeated in Missouri and finished third at the Nike Team Regional meet in South Dakota. Marquette finished third at the Wisconsin State Meet. The girls team title went to the ladies from Ste. Genevieve who were victorious by a mere three points over a tough Rockwood Summit team led by individual runner-up Aimee Bonte.
The individual title for the girls went to Ladue junior Natalie Todd who blitzed a field that included Bonte as well as State Champions Alyssa Allison from Festus, Lauren Borduin from Rock Bridge and Hilary Orf from Marquette en route to an 18:41 course record. While Todd won by 19 seconds on the girls side, the boys race was much tighter with a pack of five separating themselves from the field from the gun. Kickapoo’s Rick Elliot took the early pace, followed by 4:13 miler Adam Behnke of Lutheran South, Francis Howell North’s Matt Schwab and the dynamic duo of Jacob Swearingen and Nick Niggemann of Potosi. In the end all five runners broke the 16 minute barrier but it was a late charge by Swearingen that sealed the race for the junior. His time of 15:39.6 made him the third fastest performer in meet history.
The girls Junior Varsity race was won by Columbia Rock bridge for the second year in a row as they outdistanced St. Joseph’s Academy by 34 points. Marquette took the freshman girls race, scoring an impressive 34 points. The boys JV and freshman races were won by SLUH, making it a clean sweep on the day for the Jr. Bills.
The girls race was won by the yellow-clad ladies from Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Mo. Led by individual runner-up Lauren Borduin the Lady Bruins put five runners in the top 28 and out-distanced second place Marquette by 23 points. Marquette came out on top in the individual race however, with eventual Class 4 State Champ Hilary Orf taking the victory in 19:07.
The boys junior varsity and freshman races were won by the boys from St. Louis University High who scored a meet low 17 points in winning the latter race. The girls JV race was another Rock Bridge versus Marquette battle with Rock Bridge coming out on top just as they had in the varsity race. Fort Zumwalt South took home top honors in the girls freshman race.
Girls 5K – 16:47.2 Taylor Werner, Ste. Genevieve, 2013
Freshman Boys 3K – 9:33.5 Ryan Parson, Farmington, 2013
Freshman Girls 3K- 11:09.8 Erin Smith, Nerinx Hall, 2013
Middle School Boys 2K (ended after 2014) – 6:14.4, Ben Naeger Ste. Genevieve, 2012
Middle School Girls 2K (ended after 2014) – 7:19.6, Anastasia Compton, Jackson, 2012
Middle School Boys 3K – 10:56.6, Jonah Krieg, Festus, 2015
Middle School Girls 3K – 11:48.6, Mia Reed, Washington, 2015
Men’s Open Race 4K (ended after 2014) – 12:33.1, Brian Lyons, 2010
Women’s Open Race 4K (ended in 2014) – 13:48.3, Elizabeth Knight, 2007
Men’s Open Race 5k – 16:26, Bram Osterhout, 2017
Women’s Open Race 5k – 18:01.8, Jackie Pirtle-Hall, 2016
2) 15:10.1 Zach Herriott (SR), Rockhurst, 2011
3) 15:13.7 Noah Kauppila (SR), Marquette, 2013
4) 15:14.2 Patrick Gregory (SR), Butler Traditional (KY), 2013
5) 15:15.6 Spencer Haik (SR), Glendale, 2013
6) 15:18.1 Caleb Wilfong (SR), Rock Bridge, 2011
7) 15:18.4 Noah Kauppila (JR), Marquette, 2012
8) 15:19.4 Drew White (SR), Festus, 2011
9) 15:20.0 Alex Riba (JR), O’Fallon (IL), 2011
10) 15:23.3 Cole Rockhold (SR), Truman, 2013
11) 15:24.4 Patrick Perrier (JR), O’Fallon (IL), 2012
12) 15:25.1 Dorrian Gordon (SR), O’Fallon (IL), 2014
13) 15:25.5 Ben Naeger (JR), Ste. Genevieve, 2015
14) 15:26.3 Brandon Shemonia (SR), Scott City, 2011
15) 15:26.4 Alex Riba (SR), O’Fallon (IL), 2012
16) 15:26.7 Chris Mooneyham (SR), Glendale, 2012
17) 15:27.5 Victor Mugeche (SR), Blue Springs, 2017
18) 15:28.30* Josh Thebeau (SR), Potosi, 2006
19) 15:28.4 Stephen Mugeche (JR), Blue Springs, 2013
20) 15:28.8 Jordan Cook (SR), Rock Bridge, 2011
21) 15:30.5 Michael Karls (SR), Festus, 2014
22) 15:31.8 Austin Hindman (JR), Lafayette, 2015
23) 15:32.2 Devin Meyer (SR), Lafayette, 2015
24) 15:33.3 Evan Schulte (SR), Rock Bridge, 2013
25) 15:33.35* Josh Mathis (SR), Potosi, 2006
* = converted time from 2006 (course was shortened so EMT’s could attend to a runner from the previous race)
2) 16:59.3 Taylor Werner (FR), Ste. Genevieve, 2012
3) 17:07.0 Hannah Long (SO), Eureka, 2012
4) 17:07.7 Hannah Long (SR), Eureka, 2014
5) 17:37.1 Hannah Long (JR), Eureka, 2013
6) 17:38.8 Taylor Werner (SR), Ste. Genevieve, 2015
7) 17:48.5 Anna West (SR), Lafayette, 2015
8) 17:48.6 Sophia Racette (JR), Nerinx Hall, 2013
9) 17:49.6 Taylor Werner (JR), Ste. Genevieve, 2014
10) 17:51.5 Kaitlyn Fischer (SR), Herculaneum 2012
11) 18:00.3 Hannah Long (FR), Eureka, 2011
12) 18:06.9 Chelsea Drum (SR), Jackson, 2015
13) 18:07.5 Jamie Kempfer (SR), Festus, 2013
14) 18:07.9 Mia Jerman (JR), Ste. Genevieve, 2014
15) 18:08.1 Maddi Leigh (FR), Francis Howell, 2013
16) 18:08.9 Jill Whitman (SR), Cor Jesu, 2013
17) 18:10.9 Sophia Racette (SR), Nerinx Hall, 2014
18) 18:11.3 Mikayla Reed (SO), Washington, 2015
19) 18:13.6 Chelsea Drum (SO), Jackson, 2014
20) 18:17.1 Ann Campbell (SR), St Teresa’s, 2014
21) 18:17.2 Anna West (JR), Lafayette, 2014
22) 18:17.3 Sarah Nicholson (SR), Lafayette, 2015
23) 18:17.3 Kayla Funkenbusch (FR), Rock Bridge, 2011
24) 18:18.3 Maddi Leigh (SO), Francis Howell, 2014
25) 18:21.1 Margaret Pigott (SO), St. Thomas Aquinas, KS, 2015