Camdenton senior Cambrie Kowal and sophomore Madelyn Coffelt took on 158 of the best Class 4 cross country runners in the state at Gans Creek in Columbia on Friday and finished in the top 100.

It was the culmination of an entire season's worth of work. And also navigating through a pandemic.

Camdenton senior Cambrie Kowal and sophomore Madelyn Coffelt took on 158 of the best Class 4 cross country runners in the state at Gans Creek in Columbia on Friday and finished in the top 100. Kowal was 74th overall with a time of 21:3.1 while Coffelt earned 95th at 21:36.7.

Camdenton coach Lauren Moriearty said it was no small feat for the first time state qualifiers who were the first girls to represent the Lakers at state since 2012.

"the hardest part is getting there and that is always a goal, but we had two ladies crack the top 100 in Class 4, which isn't easy. I think they walked in today hoping for some personal records and that did not happen, but they each ran exceptionally well today as competitors and really gave it their all. Through quarantines and everything else COVID-related this season has thrown us, the outcome today was just awesome. 

"The weather was perfect, the course was in good shape and the only thing missing was that true state meet atmosphere."

Due to the pandemic, races across all classes usually scheduled into a single day were spread out across three days and there were spectator limitations, but Kowal and Coffelt were never truly alone.

"It made it tough to get team members here, but they waited by the computer yesterday for extra tickets to go on sale so they could be," Moriearty noted. "Our athletic director Dr. Kurtz made the early morning drive and was a positive presence for these girls. With his help, we also set up a live stream for the rest of the team at school so we know these two were well-supported today. I hope they felt that because it is a big deal for them to be here."

It was the final race for Kowal as a Laker and Moriearty said there were some emotions in the huddle. The coach said the example the senior set was a good one.

"She's been an absolute joy for the last four years and the epitome of what can happen when you put in the time, miles and hard work. The other day we casually talked through her 4-year progression in racing and for her, it was just the steadiest climb," the coach remarked. "How perfect to end it at the state meet. Cam's got a bright future of running ahead of her and I think we'll catch her out on the course again soon."

As for Coffelt, Moriearty immediately pointed out the potential of the sophomore. 

"She is a sophomore with a state meet under her belt so every year is going to be a grind with a goal to get here again. We just hope she will be joined by other teammates or maybe even a whole qualifying team," the coach stated. "Alas, I don't think we've fully scratched the surface with Maddie- she just started with us this season. Next year with a base of training under her belt, I think we'll see some really exciting stuff.

"Sad to see the season end, but excited to log some relaxing offseason miles with the crew."