Marquette senior Mason Walters earned all-state honors for the Mustangs at the Class 4 state cross country meet.
Last year as a junior, Walters finished 51 at the state meet at the Oak Hills Golf Course in Jefferson City.
This year, Walters finished 12th in 16 minutes, 32.84 seconds.
“This year, Mason has really dedicated himself to cross country and personal growth, co-head coach Missy Burger said. “He has had a tremendous year by finishing 11th at conference, fifth at districts, and seventh at sectionals.”
Co-head coach Mike Ebert said Walters exceeded expectations with his state race.
“He ran great. Based on how he finished at districts and sectionals we knew he had a good chance at being in the top 25,” Ebert said. “Finishing 12th surpassed our expectations, but probably not his.
“He has a great kick, so when we saw where he was in the last 600 meters, we knew it was going to be a good day for him.”
It was a personal best time for Walters.
“He was definitely pleased with race,” Ebert said. “He broke 16 minutes at districts. It was soggy course conditions at state so I don’t think many kids from any schools had a personal best.”
The Marquette boys were making their 10th consecutive appearance at the state meet.
As a team this time, Marquette finished 10th with 226 points.
“We thought they could finish in the top 10,” Ebert said. “We came out of a tough district and sectional and that gave our kids confidence.”
Ethan Koop was 30th in 16:53.23. Sophomore Stone Burke came in 80th in 17:22.88. Junior Quinton Durer was 99th in 17:35.15. Sophomore Connor Del Carmen was 121st in 17:45.70.
Ebert was pleased with how they did.
“Ethan Koop ran great. He had not been feeling great the week leading up to state, but he put himself up in the race and finished strong,” Ebert said. “As just a sophomore, 30th place is fantastic. Stone was running at state for his second time. He put himself into the right places early on in that race. Quinton was racing for the first time at state. He has improved tremendously from last year and ran very well in his first state race. To be in the top 100 overall was great.
“Connor was our No. 4 all season until some injuries caught up to him after our conference meet. He worked really hard to get back to racing form, and though definitely not 100 percent at state he put himself in the race and ended up being our fifth runner.”
The coaches were satisfied with the 10th place finish by the Mustangs
“It takes a team and our team really came together this year,” Burger said. “It took all of them to us here and they all have all had at least one amazing performance that positioned our team perfectly during the season.”
The state meet capped a good season for the Mustangs.
“As the season progressed, they really improved and gelled as a team,” Ebert said.
Burger credited the “senior leadership” of Jadon Schroeder, Mason Walters and Dylan Pothoff.
“They really set the tone for a successful season,” Burger said.
Marquette loses only two of the athletes who ran state. and will have five returning.
“We’re excited about the future, but our kids know they’ll have to work hard to get back again next year,” Ebert said. “Our district has been very tough, and with possible changes to cross country in the future, we can’t take anything for granted.
“We had some freshman run very well late in the season and we’re excited about their potential. Junior Jacob Laupan did very well in his first year of varsity racing.”