HHS junior Kristen Ely (867) runs in the Class 3 girls cross country state championship race last Saturday in Columbia. Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Houston High School junior Kristen Ely competed last Saturday at the Missouri High School Cross Country Championships.

Running on the 3.1-mile course at the Gans Creek Cross Country complex in Columbia, Ely placed 110th in a field of 171 runners in the Class 3 race with a time of 22:08.00.

Ely qualified to run at the meet by finishing 19th in the Class 3 District 2 Championships meet the previous week at Lamar (the top-30 qualify). The trip to the state meet was the second in her career, as she also qualified as a freshman when the Missouri State High School Activities Association had Houston in Class 2.

In her senior season next fall, Houston’s Kristen Ely will try to run in a state championship race for the third time.

“Kristen ran a pretty decent race Saturday,” said Houston cross country head coach Justin Brown. “Nothing like what we’ve seen in some other meets, but this is a huge race and we don’t see this level of competition every day.” 

The top-30 finishers in the race all posted times under 20 minutes and earned All-State status.

“We had a goal to try and get under 21 minutes, but just came up a little short,” Brown said. “But I will say I’m very proud of how hard she’s worked this entire season to get to this point. I want to say she was closing in on close to 800 miles this year, which is amazing!

“Overall, I feel like Kristen learned a lot about how we have to prepare for next season – as did I. I’ve got some things that I think as a coach I could do better to help improve the overall performance of all our kids. 

“She definitely should have a bit of fire underneath her going into next season!” 

Southern Boone County senior Alexandra Volkart won the race with a time of 18:27.00, while senior Lauren Eftink of Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) was second at 18:29.70.

St. Charles West won the Class 3 team championship and Westminster Christian Academy was second.

Complete boys and girls results from all classes can be found online at mo.milesplit.com.

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