Boys could make it a historic day at '22 Gans Creek Classic

Competition weekend #5 is here for some while it's race week #4 for others, but either way, this weekend marks five weeks until district meets and six weeks until state. Much of the state, just over 3,000 entered athletes, will be in Columbia for the 4th edition of the Gans Creek Classic at the gorgeous Gans Creek Cross Country Course and Greg Hall Champions Plaza.

While the opportunity for athletes and teams to make a statement and stake a claim to glory and state meet potential is available for all athletes in each division and race, the most anticipated race, with maybe the most on the line, is the Varsity Boys Gold Division race at 10:30 a.m.

The race will feature four elite young men and most of the top teams in the state. It will feature defending state champions from Class 5-Kickapoo, Class 4-Festus, Class 3-Herculaneum, all contenders for this year's titles. It also features trophy favorites who will be vying for this year's state team titles. That includes teams like Rock Bridge, Rockhurst, Liberty North, among others in Class 5. Class 4 favorite Hillsboro will try to prove they are one of the top few teams in the state regardless of classification. That's something 8-time defending Class 3/4 champion Festus has done a few times over the last decade.  

The history breaking or adding potential on the day comes from how fast the top boys in the race can run. While no two cross country courses are alike, and course and weather conditions can vary drastically from one race to another, it's intriguing and fun to compare times and performances. Before last year just a few Missouri boys had broken 15-minutes for 5k in cross country. That changed in 2021. The number of sub-15-minute performances in the MO.MileSplit database doubled last fall.