JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern course was completely soaked and full of puddles, streams and muddy pits by time the varsity boys began their Southern Stampede race. And nearly everyone seemed to enjoy the sloppy conditions.
Glendale’s Chris Mooneyham, who won in 16:24, seemed to especially like the mud. He was five seconds ahead of Broken Arrow (Okla.) senior Kyle Broaddrick (16:29).
“You definitely have to keep your eyes down the whole time,” Mooneyham said. “There’s mud, water, people are slipping. It’s just a mess but that’s what makes it fun. That’s why I love this course.”
Mooneyham said he stuck with the lead pack through the first mile. When he heard the split called out at 5:10, he knew it was time to pick up the pace. He continued to lead a small contingent before pulling away once he sensed the finish line growing closer.
The conditions likely contributed to a handful of runners going down right at the start of the race. The field was called back to the starting line for a restart, which did not appear to have much effect on the runners.
Spencer Haik did not trail his Glendale teammate by much, finishing in 16:33 for fourth place.
“It was really fun; you don’t get to run like this often,” Haik said. “The mud was really hard on my legs. I couldn’t get traction, especially on my kick.
“Now that we’ve run in something this challenging on our legs, now when we run on dry stuff it will be twice as fast.”
Potosi senior Jacob Reese came through in 17:16 and held on for 12th amid a tight group of finishers. Reese said the muddy conditions reminded him of Forest Park two years ago and a previous race in Carbondale, Ill.
“I really did enjoy the course; it was a blast,” said Reese, who helped his team to a ninth-place finish out of 43 squads.
Jenks (Tulsa, Okla.) won the team title with 128 points, and Rogers (Ark.) was second with 140. Liberty led the Missouri schools with a fourth-place finish (175).