Eldon's Martonfi and Reynolds and Osage's Markovitz earn All-State honors and medals among Missouri's best
A trio of medals and All-State recognition are returning to the Lake area after the Class 3 state cross country meet at Gans Creek in Columbia.
Eldon freshman Zoe Martonfi became the first female to medal at state for the Mustangs in the race on Thursday and fellow freshman teammate Nathan Reynolds earned a medal as well while Osage senior John Markovitz became an All-State runner in the final race of his Indian career. Meanwhile, the district champion Osage girls recorded their highest team finish in program history, placing seventh amongst 15 schools, and Versailles had a pair of runners taking on the best as well.
Not a bad day for Lake area cross country runners, indeed.
Martonfi, who won an individual district championship in the first postseason race of her high school career last Saturday at Hermitage, made history by placing seventh amongst a pack of 153 runners with a time of 19:42.6 to earn All-State honors and a medal.
"I went into it a little nervous and just pushed myself all the way. When I was done, I was happy for myself and thankful I had my coaches and teammate there to push me all the way," said Martonfi who is hoping a few more teammates will join her next year.
"Coaches were nothing but encouraging and my teammates made it fun. At the last race I just told myself you have to give everything you have. I started strong and never gave up."
Meanwhile, Reynolds finished 19th in his race for Eldon amongst 162 runners with a time of 17:07.6 and an All-State medal is not a bad conclusion to his first high school season as well.
"It was an awesome experience and thankful for it. A lot to build off of," he said, noting that there were plenty of sophomores and juniors in his race who will likely be be back next year so getting the result was a nice boost.
"A lot of team- practices, coaches and teammates encouraging me and pushing me to be the best. At state there were not a lot of people," the freshman continued, noting coronavirus restrictions, "but the voices I could hear encouraged me and made me strive to do my best. I just want to thank the team for pushing me as far as I went."
Eldon coach Kay Reed said the bar has been set pretty high for the freshmen duo, noting that it would not be easy to top what the two already accomplished. However, it should be fun to find out what the next three years have in store.
"It is really exciting because we talked about that and where do we go from here?" the coach recalled.
Well, one thing that was certainly evident was work ethic. Reed and her staff had T-Shirts ready for runners who earned every single letter of "G.R.I.T.," which stands for guts, resilience, integrity and toughness. Safe to say, the two freshmen earned their T-shirts.
"Nate and Zoe brought grit every single practice. They came and did what they had to do every single day and it paid off," the coach stated.
But even after earning state medals, the focus is on the future.
"They are both such humble kids that you would never know that," Reed said of the two earning All-State recognition and a medal. "They are not ones to go around and brag about it. Definitely proud of themselves and rightfully so, but it did light the fire for both of them to do better each year, so it is exciting."
One thing the Mustangs are looking forward to is Joe Bill Dixon's Wilderness Running Camp this summer. Started by longtime West Plains coach Joe Bill Dixon, who has led the Zizzers to numerous state championships, it is an opportunity for area runners to have some fun running against their competition. In addition to West Plains, there is a camp in New Haven Reed is looking forward to having her program attend.
"We are going to try to do that as a team this summer and amp up the mileage," the coach said of the camp that runs for four days. "Runners from all over the area run together and end with a half marathon."
After winning a district title and the opportunity to compete at state as a team, the Osage girls put up 187 points overall. John Burroughs earned the team state title with a sum of 59 points followed by Southern Boone (90), Potosi (137), Aurora (138), North Callaway (149) and Herculaneum (186).
Osage senior Sara Wolf was the first Indian to cross the finish line, capturing 36th place with a time of 21:35.6. Sophomore Bayley Johnson placed 46th with a time of 21:52.6, freshman Isabella Lopez earned 49th at 21:56.7, junior Juliana Bryant was 87th at 22:52.1, junior Abby Maschhoff took 116th at 23:39.5, sophomore Katherine Wolf was 136th at 24:34.9 and senior Grace Martin came in 147th with a time of 26:19.1.
By finishing second as one of the top two teams in districts at Hermitage last week, the Osage boys also had the opportunity to compete as a team and placed 15th amongst 16 schools with 322 points. Fatima brought home the state team title with 98 points, respectively.
Markovitz finished 18th overall in the field to lead Osage with a time of 17:05.7. Sophomore Dylan Barnett placed 109th with a time of 19:01, freshman Jaysen Groll captured 128th at 19:31.1, sophomore Caden Wyrick was 134th at 19:44.5, freshman Colin Misenheimer was 136th at 19:48.6, sophomore Caleb Klaus came in 158th at 21:39.4 and freshman Jaxsen Gamm finished his day 162nd at 24:19.7.
A pair of seniors from Versailles were running their final race on Thursday and Zachary Radefeld crossed the finish line 110th in the state meet at 19:03.1 while teammate Seth Newton earned 123rd at 19:19.6.
"Seth ran all four years and to make it to state his senior year, even after moving up a class, made it even more special," Versailles coach Laura Piercy said of the senior who medaled in six meets this season while Radefeld medaled in five meets, respectively. "For Zach to make it his first year running, well that is simply amazing. Coach (Ashley) Pryor and I told them they had a very good chance of making it to state and at first, I'm not sure they believed us. I feel like it was a big confidence boost for them."
Piercy commended the work ethic of the two seniors along with Carmen Lemell and the example they set.
"All three of our seniors were what every coach dreams of when it comes to upperclassmen. To steal a phrase from Coach Jason Ollison (Versailles softball and boys basketball), they never cheated themselves," the coach said. "Because of that, underclassmen learned what was expected of them in cross country."
Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and all the uncertainty, Piercy also hopes that Newton and Radefeld will always remember what they accomplished.
"I hope that being able to compete at state was worth all the miles hills, maxes and sprints. I hope that yesterday is a day they remember for the rest of their lives," the coach stated. "I hope that when they tell others about making it to state, their stories are filled with all the good and fun things about the day.
"Coach Pryor and I could not be any more proud of Seth and Zach or the rest of the team."