In just a few weeks, runners around the state will head to their first official practices for the 2020 Cross Country season. Runners anxiously await the moment where they can lace up their spikes and wait for the gun, after they had their track seasons taken from them this spring. The pandemic we find ourselves leaves some uncertainty on exactly what the season will look like, but MSHSAA has made it clear they tend to start the season on time. With that being said, we are happy to kick off our previews for the 2020 Cross Country season with a look at the senior boys to look out for this year.
The top returner, and the early favorite to bring home the Class 5 (yes, remember XC has moved to 5 Classes) is Rock Bridge's Matthew Hauser. Hauser returns off a very strong junior season in which he earned a third place finish at the Class 4 State Meet. His time of 15:24 from that meet is the fastest returning time in Missouri, and was 20 seconds better than any other returner at Gans Creek.
Another one worth watching is Ethan Koop of Marquette. He ran a PR of 15:45 at the State Meet, which is the second best returning time from Gans Creek and earned him a seventh place finish in Class 4. Which was twenty-three places higher than he placed the previous year, and he'll look to keep the improvement going.
Other seniors to watch include Joseph Dawson (Webb City) with a PR of 15:51 and placed 15th at state, Brock Wooderson (Blue Springs) 15:40/18th, Sam Travis (Liberty North) 15:50/13th, Thomas Andersen (Parkway West) 15:52/17th, and Riley Simpson (West Plains) 15:30/19th.