The Marquette boys cross country team heads into the sectional meet for the 11th consecutive season.
The Mustangs won the recent Class 4 District 4 meet at Brookdale Farms in Eureka. Marquette finished first in the 12-team district with 69 points.
The next seven teams following the Mustangs in order were Parkway South (73), Lafayette (76), Parkway Central (99), Parkway West (101), Eureka (141), Summit (199) and CBC (217).
“I can’t speak for those other teams, but it was pretty competitive, ” Marquette coach Mike Ebert said. “That’s a pretty tight spread between first through third places.”
Marquette won the Fleet Feet Kickoff Classic at Parkway Central during the regular season.
Ebert said his squad was ready for the postseason.
“We have a mostly veteran group that was prepared to race,” Ebert said. “Brookdale Farms is a very cool venue. The weather was not the greatest, but was the same for all. It was pretty flat overall.”
Marquette junior Stone Burke was the medalist with a winning time of 16 minutes, 6.20 seconds. It was a personal record for Burke.
There were 82 runners in the meet. Ebert liked how Burke ran the district race.
“He was with the lead pack at the start of the race,” Ebert said. “As the race progressed the lead pack narrowed and he picked a good time to make his kick.”
It was his first time to be a medalist in cross country.
He has had success in track and field. Last spring, running in track for the Mustangs, Burke reached the state meet as one of the runners in the 3,200-meter relay. He also qualified for the sectional in the 800.
Mustang junior Ethan Koop was third in 16:08.40 at the district.
“He and Stone have been pretty close together all season—usually within 10 seconds of each other,” Ebert said. “He ran very well, too.”
Coming in 14th was senior Jacob Laupan in 16:58.50. Senior Connor Del Carmen was 21st in 17:18.70. Senior Frederick Durer, was 29th in 17:24.90. Junior Braden Thoele was 46th in 17:59.50. Senior Caleb Rogers finished 62nd in 18:42.10.
Ebert was happy with how his Mustangs performed.
“The team ran well,” Ebert said. “There is room for improvement but we are certainly pleased to be moving on to sectionals and to take first place.”
The Mustangs were pleased to win the district, Ebert said.
“They were happy and surprised at the teams scores,” Ebert said. “I think it showed them how good all of these teams are.”
The sectional is Saturday at Parkway Central. The boys race begins at 10 a.m.
Ebert knows what he wants from his Mustangs.
“Our No. 1 goal is to advance to state and to stay healthy,” Ebert said.
The Mustangs were 10th last year at state. Two years ago, Marquette came in sixth. Three years, Marquette placed 13th at state.
Several boys are back from those state teams, Ebert said.
“We have five boys back from last year’s team, and Stone Burke and Ethan Koop both ran as freshman on the sixth place team and both were huge reasons we placed so well on that day.”
That experience hopefully pays off, Ebert said.
“I think it’s helpful. Those kids know the routines of state and can help the new ones,” Ebert said. “They know how to relax, rest, and focus during these last couple weeks of the season.”
Marquette has a streak it wants to keep. The program has reached the state meet as a team for last 10 years.
“We don’t talk too much about it, but they are aware,” Ebert said about his boys. “It’s pretty cool and something we’d obviously like to keep going. We’ve had a number of boys—like Ethan and Stone—who have been able to run at state numerous times.”