2023 MSHSAA State Championships Preview: Class 4 Boys

The 2023 MSHSAA State Championships are finally upon us and we are excited for another thrilling and chilly November weekend of racing!

This year's Class 4 Boys State Championship will take place at 11:15am on Saturday. It is a star-studded field with three boys under 15:20 vying for an individual state title and two of the state's most historic programs vying to return to the top of the podium.



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



Check out our preview of the field, with District champions highlighted and the other major contenders discussed among the strong field of candidates. This year, the Top 4 teams will still continue to be honored with a trophy, but a new development means the Top 30 athletes will be honored with medals. According to MileSplit's rankings, the 30th fastest runner in Class 4 Boys is currently 16:12.30.


The District Champs - Individuals

Carson Driemeier - Festus

After the departure of one of the historic program's all-time greats, Ian Schram, Festus needed another leader to step up to carry the torch. In only his sophomore year, Carson Driemeier has answered that call. 

Driemeier was an integral part of the team last fall as a freshman, finishing 13th overall, and helping the Tigers earn a runner-up finish to the juggernaut that was Hillsboro High School. He finished out the 2022 season with a 16:26.50 personal best and carried that success into the spring where he ran 4:33.23 and 9:27.85 in the 1600 and 3200, the latter being a MO No. 5 all-time mark for freshmen. 

This fall, Driemeier has led the Tigers through another successful season with five sub-16:00 performances in six tries, headlined by a 15:29.50 personal best on the Northwest Intermediate School course to earn the coveted Class 4 District 1 title. He is a strong contender for the individual crown this year, though more likely a Top 5 runner this year with eyes on the prize once a couple of seniors graduate. A phenomenal career is unfolding for this sophomore from Festus. 


Zach Mitchell - Marshfield

Marshfield's Zach Mitchell emerged from a fierce field of contenders in Class 4 District 2, including several West Plains and Bolivar stars, among other strong Class 4 all-state candidates. His 16:04.04 mark was a personal best and led to his second consecutive victory.  

Marshall has flown under the radar so far this season after finishing 45th at last year's Class 4 State meet. He is coming off a strong track season in which he set personal bests in the 1600 and 3200 of 4:32.44 and 9:37.13, earning an 8th place all-state medal in the Class 4 3200. He may just be peaking at the right time and ready to vault himself into the Class 4 Top 10 conversation this Saturday.


Tyler Anderson - Ft. Zumwalt East

Another District champion who has not stolen the headlines necessarily this season, but appears to be firing on all cylinders in the late stages of the season is Ft. Zumwalt East's Tyler Anderson. 

Anderson bided his time throughout the Class 4 District 3 race before showing off his wheels in the last kilometer to snag the individual championship from Warrenton's Phillip Kackley and returning all-stater Nate Maples of St. Charles. Anderson's District title pairs nicely with his overall GAC XC Championship and included a personal best 16:12.24 mark on the course at St. Vincent Park. A 50.27/1:56.38 400/800 runner who earned all-state honors in the 1600 this spring, Anderson is finally starting to put the 5k pieces together and appears ready to take on the field and attack the 16:00 mark this weekend.


Isaac Rivera - Lincoln College Prep

The heavy favorite heading into the season remains that way heading into State weekend. Lincoln College Prep's Isaac Rivera is ready to put a final stamp on a stellar senior campaign. 

Rivera is 7-for-7 on sub-16:00 attempts this season, running 15:04.70 at his fastest at this year's Kris Solsberg Invite and 15:42.40 at his slowest at the Kearney Invitational. He has five victories to his name at the afore-mentioned meets, but also three huge wins in the Gans Creek Classic Gold Division, Chile Pepper Festival fast heat, and Class 4 District 4 meet over rival Andrew Johnson of Platte County. 

Rivera finished fourth at last year's edition of the Class 4 State meet behind three graduated seniors. He has taken out all of his most serious competition head-to-head and only lost twice this year to Johnson on September 2nd at the Tim Nixon Invitational and to nationally ranked star from Marion (IL) Dylon Nalley at the Forest Park XC Festival. Expect to see Rivera jump out to the lead from the gun and hold on through to the finish. 


The District Champs - Teams


Well, that did not take long at all. 

After losing at the State meet for the first time since 2013, Coach Wright's team is right back to where it is used to being - the top of the Class 4 food chain. 

Driemeier leads the way for the crew. Jimmy Wacker, Bryson Rhine, and Tate Uding all come in within a second of each other between 16:03-16:04 and Lucas Campbell rounds out the crew with a 16:30.00 best. Aidan Cole provides sixth man insurance with a 16:32.80 mark, best among everyone's No. 6. They had a massive day on Saturday with season bests across the board to secure the 41 point victory over Webster Groves in second. 

This season, they also took back the JCAA Conference in emphatic fashion, finished third in the Forest Park Green Division, and took second at the Fort Zumwalt North Twilight. It should not be surprising to see four to five Festus harriers in the top thirty this Saturday as they look to regain their Class 4 supremacy.


West Plains

The Zizzers have been slowly but surely rebuilding their dynasty over the last few years, experiencing success, but none like they have had in past decades. Though the boys program has 13 state titles and 37 trophies to its name, they have not won it all since 2008. Since then, they have earned nine trophies, but this appears to be a year in which they could make the leap back to the top of the Class 4 podium.

It is still a relatively young squad that sports the famous thick candy stripe shorts. With not a single senior on their top seven, a team win at state this year would surely make for an interesting storyline heading into 2024. Nevertheless, the Zizzers are led in 2023 by one of their strongest contingents of all time. Carson King leads the way at 15:57.53, a mark which earned him 17th at the Missouri Southern Stampede. He has three wins to his name this fall, the Waggoner Invitational, Zizzer Invitational, and Licking Wildcat Invitational. His next three teammates fall in within 13 seconds of him, highlighting that solid pack for which West Plains has become famous. Hoyt Stiner, Kyler Gunter, and Jackson Free make up that strong 1-4 contingent. Their 1-5 split of 44.44 seconds is the second best among Class 4 qualifying teams. 

It's a battle-tested squad with hopes of bringing home their first state title in 15 years. Watch for West Plains to put it all together on Saturday and emerge from what's sure to be a fun fight with Festus among the winners. 


Lutheran (St. Charles)

The Lutheran Cougars earned their fifth straight District title on Saturday with a win in Class 4 District 3. It is yet another solid squad for Coach Elizabeth Fruend, one who has finished 2nd (Class 3), 3rd (Class 4) and 5th over the last three years led by junior Milo Rush and senior Zeke Brown. While they have yet to show off the full power of their team this season, they were still able to handily bring home the District 3 title with their top five in the top twenty-one. Rush and Brown earned top six honors, with Isaac and freshman brother Nathan Lind coming in 18th and 13th, respectively. Having Isaac Lind back after a nagging injury held him out of the first few weeks of the season has been a major boost to the Cougars and should help them as they look to race back into the top four teams spot this weekend. They have some room to make up, but do not count them out as they love to show up big when it counts the most. 


Platte County

Andrew Johnson leads the way for the Class 4 District 4 champion Platte County Pirates and should be considered a major contender for the Class 4 individual crown. He has four individual victories at the Tim Nixon Invitational, Raymore-Peculiar Invitational, Chris Stubbs Invitational, and KC Suburban Red Conference. His 15:05.60 personal best is only a second behind Isaac Rivera for tops among Class 4 runners. 

His crew is certainly in contention for its first state trophy since they earned third place in Class 2 in both 2002 and 2003. Kade Meinke is a solid second man with a 16:04.50 personal best to his name and their 3-5 all should be able to keep the score low enough to compete for that fourth spot. After a 37 point performance at their District meet, Platte County is looking solid heading into State weekend.


Keep an eye out for...

Webster Groves

The second best 1-5 spread in the entire state regardless of class belongs to Webster Groves as their eye-popping 19.90 split has them riding high heading into State weekend. 

Led by Dominic Buckman at 16:04.50 and bookended by Jack Schneider at No. 5 at 16:24.40, the Statesmen have been showing off their pack-running abilities all season. Even without a single individual in the top 10 at the District meet, Webster Groves was still able to pick up a 100 point runner-up finish to Festus. That 17 team field should be an indication that Webster's pack-running strategy may be good enough to vault them all the way to the top of the Class 4 rankings, like so many great teams before them have done. A trophy this year would be their first since 1970. 


John Burroughs

John Burroughs was another District 1 team who took advantage of a fast course and fast day for racing, but regardless of the conditions, they have shown throughout the season that they are absolutely one of the contenders for Class 4 glory. 

Charles Glatz leads the way, a year removed from a fifth place finish in Class 3. His 15:38.40 personal best was good enough for second in that electric District 1 race and led his squad to a third place finish overall behind Festus and Webster Groves. Now seeded fourth heading into the State meet, with a strong 2-4 group within five seconds of each other, Burroughs could be gearing up to put the cherry on top of another impressive season of racing and earn their third trophy in the last four years...and first ever trophy in Class 4. 


Liam Adair - Smithville

Even with a 15:18.00 personal best to his name, Smithville's Liam Adair has had to contend with two superstar seniors to be called among the best in the Kansas City area, much less the state. Nevertheless, the junior Warrior has one more year to reign supreme in Class 4 if he does not seal the deal this Saturday. No stranger to winning, Adair has season victories in the small school division at Tim Nixon, in a stacked field at the KC XC Classic, and in the KC Suburban Blue Conference. He has gone under 16:00 five times and finished third in District 4 to Rivera and Johnson. Expect for Adair to climb into the Top 5 conversation this weekend and cement himself as a Class 4 favorite heading into 2024.


Evan Fuller - Farmington

It has been a quietly consistent and strong campaign for Farmington's Evan Fuller, as the senior has picked up four individual victories and a runner-up finish this season, posted a personal best 5K time of 15:39.20, and entered the conversation as one of Class 4's best 5 runners. He was third on Saturday in District 1, just a tick behind Glatz for second, and should not be counted out if it comes down to a kick on Saturday. This spring, he showed off lethal long sprint skills with 52.22 and 1:54.56 personal bests in the 400 and 800.