2023 Missouri XC Season Preview: Class 3 Girls

The 2023 season is officially upon us! We are ready to preview all of the craziness that comes with it. 

Class 3 features the top three returners from the 2022 State meet back to battle it out again, a potential for a repeat on the team title side, and some interesting battles for the top 30 individual spots and top 4 team trophies.

Take a look at the athletes, teams, and storylines to watch for in Class 3 this season. The final two classes will be released over the coming days.


BOYS: Class 5 | Class 4 | Class 3 | Class 2 | Class 1

GIRLS: Class 5 | Class 4 | Class 3 | Class 2 | Class 1 


Top 7 Contenders

Alexandra Volkart - Southern Boone County

Not only the top returner in Class 3 by time but the top returner in the entire state, Southern Boone senior Alexandra Volkart is looking to repeat as Class 3 Cross Country State Champion in 2023. 

After a stellar junior campaign in which she picked up victories at the Jim Marshall Invitational, Tri-County Conference meet, Class 3 District 3 and Class 3 State Championships, as well as 4th place finishes in the Gans Creek Gold Division and Chile Pepper Festival, Volkart heads into the 2023 season with a 17:43.80 personal best to her name. She was under 19:00 seven times in 2022. 

This spring ended up producing a much shorter track season than she is used to, but the SBC Eagle was still able to manage a 5:17 1600 and two sub-11:30 3200s in her short time on the oval. These were just off her 5:15.79 and 11:15.23 bests from her sophomore campaign. 

Volkart should be considered the heavy favorite this fall in Class 3 and a strong contender everywhere she goes. 


Zoe Martonfi - Eldon

A jack of all trades and master of several, Eldon's Zoe Martonfi heads into the 2023 cross-country season ready to build off of a stellar junior track and field campaign. 

Martonfi has truly done it all in her career, competing in events ranging from the 100-meter hurdles to triple jump to 1600 and everywhere in between. She is coming off a track season in which she picked up wins at the Class 3 State meet in the 800, 1600, and 300-meter hurdles, going a combined 24-0 in these events throughout the season, and picked up a 3rd place medal in the triple jump. In the 2022 cross country season, she snagged a runner-up medal in Class 3, capping off a season in which she finished no worse than 2nd in all 11 meets in which she competed. Her personal best stands at 18:41.24 heading into this season. 

It will be a tough feat to make up that nearly 1:00 gap on Volkart ahead of her, but oh gee if anyone could do it, it's Zoe Martonfi. 

RELATED: Interview with Zoe Martonfi


Elsa Henry - St. Michael The Archangel

St. Michael's Elsa Henry was able to pick up a state title of her own this spring, making three state champions going head-to-head-to-head this fall for cross-country supremacy. 

The 2023 Class 3 3200 champion, Henry has solidified herself as one of the major players in northwestern Missouri and the state as a whole. Third at the Class State meet in 2022 in her personal best of 18:48.30, Henry enters the fall with an impressive stat line. She ran 11:04.63 in the 3200 this spring, winning 6 races and losing only once at the Kansas Relays. She also ran 5:10.13 for 4th in the Class 3 1600. 

So since that chilly November morning last year, Henry has only gotten faster and should challenge for the individual title this time around. 


Emery Mayfield - Fulton

A newcomer to the high school cross country scene in 2022, Fulton's Emery Mayfield burst onto the scene with a massive 18:50.60 victory in the Gans Creek Classic Blue Division over Platte County's Sisely Mitchell. She went on to pick up victories at the Frank Lemons Invitational and NCMC Championships, as well as runner-up finishes in the Camdenton Laker Invitational and Class 3 District 3 meet, before finishing 5th at State. She was a standout as an 8th grader, running 11:36.02 on the cross-country course in 2019. 

Mayfield hasn't raced since a 23:00 6K at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Virginia in January as she was notably absent during track season. Nevertheless, Mayfield appears to be a major player this fall and somewhat of a wildcard as her experience last season could vault her straight to the top in her second go-around. 


Genevieve Wacker - St. Charles West

Most state champion teams only get there with a strong low-stick up front. For the St. Charles West Warriors last fall, it was then-sophomore Genevieve Wacker leading the charge. 

Wacker finished the 2022 Class 3 State meet in 7th - one spot back of her 6th place finish in 2021 - but the low score started St. Charles West off on the right foot as they sought out the team title. Wacker's four fastest marks in her career have come at the Gans course, so one could assume that it has probably become her favorite course in her young career. The 19:23.00 posting last fall was 18 seconds off her 19:05.70 mark at the 2021 November Classic.

Her 2023 track season was marred by injuries, but that shouldn't stop Genevieve Wacker from returning to the top of the Class 3 ranks this fall and working to lead her team to a repeat victory. 


Kenzleigh Goans - California

California junior Kenzleigh Goans heads into her 2023 cross-country season with a solid base of racing experience to her name already. Nineteen cross country meets and forty-nine track and field races to her name already, Goans is a two-time all-stater on the course with seventeenth and eighth-place finishes to her name. 

Goans returns for the 2023 season with a 19:11.10 personal best to her name from the 2021 season and a 19:24.40 2022 season best on her ledger. Other significant results included 3rd place finishes at the District 4 meet and Tri-County Conference meet. Her 2023 track season has her with a lifetime stat line of 2:25.67/5:28.99/12:0723 in the 800, 1600, and 3200, respectively. Expect Goans to be a top-5 contender this fall and a dark horse for the state title. 


Grace Schaff - Lutheran St. Charles

Several girls would have been worthy of this seventh spot in the preview, but we gave the nod to Lutheran's Grace Schaff. Schaff was 12th at last year's Class 3 state meet a year after finishing 9th in her personal best mark of 19:18.90 and should be considered one of the major players in Class 3 this season. 

Schaff is a key part of an up-and-coming Lutheran St. Charles so she will have some added incentive to rock and roll this fall as she hopes to be the low-stick that pushes her squad to the podium. Expect the junior who owns a 12:14.64 3200 best to continue to drop time in the 5K this year.



Incoming Freshmen To Watch

Katrina Cantwell - Fair Grove

No, no that Cantwell. Different one. This one runs cross country at Fair Grove

Katrina Cantwell heads into the 2023 season top-ranked among Freshmen that we know about with a personal best of 12:48.40 in the 3200-meter run and 9:38.57 mark in the 2400-meter run. That 3200 mark was good enough to earn her the Missouri Middle School State Championship in the Class 3 division last October. She has also run 2:40.81 in the 800 and 5:43.54 in the 1600 already. Keep an eye out for this southwest Missouri product as we head into racing season.


Laila Stephens - Fredericktown

Fredericktown's Laila Stephens heads into her high school cross-country career with an impressive stat line in her own right. She already owns personal bests of 12:29.03 in the 3K and 13:05.10 in the 2 Mile run. As a 7th grader, Stephens ran 2:43.82 and 5:50.06. 

Already with a race under her belt at the Jackson Invitational this past weekend, Stephens should end up being a major player in the southeast Missouri scene that is notorious for producing some of the best MO talent around.



Top 4 Teams

St. Charles West

St. Charles West has a new head coach in 2013 grad and former Mizzou runner Sheldon Keence, replacing mainstay Angela Poindexter, but that should not deter them from defending their Class 3 State title in 2023. 

The Lady Warriors return their entire top 7 from that championship team, including FOUR in the Class of 2026. The aforementioned Genevieve Wacker leads the way, with five other girls within 59 seconds, headlined by Claire Horstmann (20:09.40) and Emily Finley (20:46.80), as well as the Jackson sisters Avery and Miley. There are rumblings of another difference-maker freshman coming up for the team, as well. It's a squad that is deep enough to run with anyone in Class 3 and should be considered a heavy favorite for the repeat in 2023.


Lutheran Kansas City

Two classes away from their true home, Lutheran Kansas City, home to a 9-11 enrollment of only 84, will be competitive for Class 3 hardware once again in 2023. 

It's an impressive feat to put together as strong of a squad as they have from so few students, but Coach Christian Nord has been up to the task. This year, he may have to do it without top returner Isabelle Wood who, after a very strong track season, is strangely absent from their 2023 cross-country roster. Amelia Craig will have to carry the torch with her 20:38.80 personal best. She already opened up her 2023 faster than she opened up the 2022 campaign so she could be in store for another strong season. 

They will need help now from their previously projected 3-5 group. Addyson Emily may need to break into the 20:00s for the Eagles to have a shot. But after a decade of success across several levels, don't count them out in the slightest.


Lutheran St. Charles

After bringing home the Class 3 State title on the track, the Lutheran St. Charles ladies are ready to take a big leap on the cross-country course this fall. 

Led by juniors Schaff and Madalyn Mahoney, the Cougars return all 6 of the girls who competed at the Class 3 State meet last season. Mahoney was 34th and owns a personal best of 20:27.80 from the 2021 season. Amanda Pelster dropped nearly a full minute in 2022 and returns at 22:09.10. She made some improvements in the spring and should be a solid No. 3 for this Lutheran team.

Coach Elizabeth Freund has high hopes for her squad this season, saying, "Our girls have been killing the runs and workouts (so far). (They're) working really hard. It's their turn." The "their turn" segment refers to the recent success of the boys team. It would appear the girls are ready to climb the podium in 2023 for the first time since their dynamic run of success from 2007-2010. 



Much like their boys, the Herculaneum Lady Blackcats are also a major contender for the state title this fall. A trophy would be their 25th, a first-place trophy would be their 12th. 

Claira Davis, daughter of Coach Kyle Davis and granddaughter of the legend Steve Davis, leads the way heading into the 2023 season. Her 20:52.94 best is 34th among returners but gives Herculaneum a solid number one off which to build. Kaitlin Taylor and Olivia Lindaman are second and third among their returners with 21:39.91 and 22:04.97, but they may need to add a couple more pieces to truly compete for the championship. As for their middle school group, the Class of 2028 may be the one that actually puts them over the top, but they won't be along until the 2024 season. 

Nonetheless, keep an eye out for the Blackcat Magic to vault Herky back to the podium for the first time since 2017 this fall.


Dark Horse Team To Watch

Fair Grove

Now here's a dark horse for you! Fair Grove heads into the season ranked 28th in our team scores feature, but three freshman girls should give them a big boost in 2023. 

Katrina Cantwell, Elise Jackson, and Lyla Bell could bring the infusion of young talent that the Eagles need to soar to the top of the Class 3 ranks this year. They will join top returners Audrey Lemon and Camille Boyer to create a pretty sneaky solid and young squad this year.