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Defending Class 2 boys cross country champs Whitfield returns to state meet focused on task at hand

Whitfied_2015cross_country_district_champsThe Whitfield boys cross country team won the Class 2 state meet last fall and now the Warriors have the opportunity to do it again.

Whitfield captured the recent Class 2 District 2 meet at Spanish Lake in north St. Louis County. The Warriors had 28 points to easily move on to the state meet.

The state again will be in Jefferson City. The boys will race Saturday (Nov. 7) at the Oak Hills Golf Center. The Class 2 boys race begins at 10:50 a.m.

“This group of boys were very determined to get back to Jefferson City,” coach Matt Politte said. “They told me this but more importantly they showed me through there actions.”

There are five runners back from last year’s team that win with 72 points, five less than Springfield Catholic. Gone from that team is Nate Gebler, who was the medalist with a time of 16 minutes, 04.62 seconds.

The district win was the only meet victory this year “so far” for his Warriors, Politte said. It was Whitfield’s fifth consecutive district championship and seventh overall.

It was great meet for his squad, Politte said.

“Our boys ran five in the top 11 of the race. We had three career personal best’s and one season personal best along with the individual champion,” Politte said. “We ran smart and did what we needed to do to prepare for the state race.”

Junior Simon Gebler was the district medalist with a winning time of 16:43.17 It was not a personal best for Gebler.

“Simon has developed into a real player in Class 2,” Politte said. “He is a student of the discipline and constantly seeks opportunity’s to learn and become better. His performance at the district race is evidence that he is learning and growing with each race he runs.”

The other Warriors ran well, too.

Ethan Bradley came in third in 17:41.55. Finishing sixth was Chris Hanson at 17:50.08 and in seventh was Matthew Ruvinov at 17:52.68. Aiden Pratt was 11th in 18:13.16. Andrew Smith was 14th in 18:38.95 and Morgan Leak wound up 17th overall in 19:05.72.

“Ethan Bradley, Matthew Ruvinov and Aiden Pratt all set new personal career records and Chris Hanson set a new personal season record,” Politte said. “Our boys were focused and committed to working hard for each other. It’s clear this group is a team in the purest sense of the word and they proved that by winning their fifth straight district title.”

The Warriors are ready for state, Politte said.

“Our current mindset is simply, focused,” Politte said. “This group has goals and they have been sacrificing as a team to be in a position to reach them. They have suffered together and now they will have the opportunity to race together and earn a reward for it.”

It’s a great group to coach and lead, Politte said.

“I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a committed and focused group of runners that in many ways a trip to Jefferson City is a simple reflection of that focus and commitment,” Politte said. “I really enjoy the state race regardless of the outcome because it gives my athletes the opportunity to race the best and take a shot at reaching their goals.”

Certainly, Whitfield is deserving of the opportunity. They are one of the top teams competing, Politte said.

“Our boys have earned the right to be considered for one of the top four spots at the Class 2 state meet,” Politte said. “We will find out Saturday if we have done what was necessary to repeat as state champions.

“Once you reach the state meet the competition is always tight. We just appreciate the opportunity to compete against the best class two teams in the state.”


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