2023 MSHSAA State Championships Preview: Class 4 Girls

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 Girls State Championship will take place at 12:00pm on Saturday. With some of the state's historic programs going toe-to-toe, and both the reigning team and individual champions having moved to Class 5 and graduated, we will see a new champion emerge both on the team and individual sides this year. 



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 Girls is currently 19:39.10.


The District Champs - Individuals

Caterina Rossomanno - Rockwood Summit

Rockwood Summit's Caterina Rossomanno has continued rolling after a breakthrough sophomore year and appears poised to improve on last season's impressive 4th place finish at the Class 4 State meet. 

The Class 4 District 1 champion in a shiny new 18:28.70 personal best, Rossomanno took down some heavy competition en route to her first career cross country victory. She has dipped under the 19:00 barrier twice now and been consistently in the mid-19:00s range all year. But a big day this past Saturday may just vault her back up to the top of the Class 4 field this weekend. 


Emery Mayfield - Fulton

Coming on strong at the end of the season is Fulton's Emery Mayfield. Now a seasoned, two-time Gans Creek Classic Blue Division champion and all-state runner from 2022, Mayfield is looking ready to climb all the way to the top of the Class 4 ranks this Saturday. 

The senior who is only in her second year of high school cross country burst onto the scene last September with her emphatic Blue Division win. She would go on to finish 5th at the Class 3 State meet, but now must contend with Class 4 foes in her last go-around. She has already shown that she has no problems with the bump up as her 18:12.40 personal best on Saturday was plenty good enough for the District win. 

Mayfield has been consistently under 19:00 since a 20:07 mark on a rainy day at her home meet six weeks ago. She should be considered a serious contender for the Class 4 individual crown this weekend. 


Like Rossomannon in District 1, MICDS junior Grace Coppel also picked up her first career cross country victory at the District 3 meet. Her 19:44.48 mark on the St. Vincent Park course was just 11 seconds off her personal best from the Border War Championships earlier this month. Coppel has been very consistent this season with marks ranging from 19:33-20:18 in her 8 tries this fall and should be one to watch as she looks to improve upon her 24th place finish from 2022 and lead her MICDS crew back onto the podium for the first time since they won it all in 2019. 


Kayleigh Norris - Harrisonville

The prohibitive favorite heading into the season, Harrisonville's Kayleigh Norris has done nothing this fall to shake our confidence in her heading into State weekend. 

Norris has been rolling all season at big and small meets across the state. She has seven victories to her name, headlined by her wins at the Missouri Southern Stampede, Tim Nixon Invitational, Warrensburg Invitational, and Class 4 District 4 meet. She was the runner up to Natalie Barnard in the Gans Creek Gold Division and finished 15th at the massive Chile Pepper Festival

As the only Class 4 runner under 18:00 this season, with eight sub-19:00 marks to her name this year, Norris is looking like a heavy favorite for her first cross country state championship a year after a 9th place finish and only a few months removed from a gold and two silvers on the track. 


The District Champs - Teams

St. Joseph's Academy

The St. Joseph's Academy ladies are flying high at just the right time and are looking poised to take home a Class 4 team crown this Saturday. 

Led by sophomore Savannah Amann, whose 18:39.10 personal best on Saturday was her second straight sub-19:00 clocking and good enough for a runner-up finish, the Angels enter this Saturday's Class 4 State Championship as a major contender for the team crown. Their District 1 margin of victory was only seven points, but with four teams within twenty-nine points of each other, St. Joseph's proved that they could go toe-to-toe with anyone in the state. 

They picked up victories this year at the Forest Park Gold Division, Lutheran North Invitational, Gans Creek Blue Division, and historic Hancock Invitational. They were three points back of Cor Jesu at the inaugural GISL Conference meet. Battle-tested and proven, watch for St. Joe's to earn their second trophy in school history and first since a third place finish in 2010. 



If anyone can take out the District 1 champions, it is this District 2 champion Bolivar squad. 

Bolivar handily dispatched of perennial powerhouse West Plains on Saturday, winning by 14 points over the 2021 State Champions. The Lady Liberators are led by Julia Jump and Ayden Spotila, who both posted massive season bests to help their team to victory this past weekend, Jump at 19:19.28 and Spotila at 19:21.74. Emma Howes was not far behind in 19:31.10, but owns a personal best of 19:22.02 from the Missouri Southern Stampede

Now with one of the most dangerous top three contingents in the state, Bolivar appears to have a solid shot of at least earning their first state trophy since their victories in 2016 and 2018.



Clayton was locked into an duel with MICDS at the Class 4 District 3 meet and, when the dust had settled, emerged victorious by a score of 39-48. 

It is a pack-running group up front with Lauren Van Rhein, Anna McAndrew, and Cesarine Cross leading the way. They were 4th, 6th, and 7th on Saturday, with Ella Caroline Welch coming in 8th. The Greyhounds were a part of an epic battle for the state title last November and ended up third by only three points. This year, they will not have the front-runner they had last year, but could still find themselves on the podium with a solid pack in all-state contention. 



Put another Class 4 District 4 title on the board for Kearney as these Bulldogs are rolling at the right time once again in 2023. 

Boasting a 44 second 1-5 split, Kearney is another team without a top 10 front-runner, but relies on their pack to push them to the top. Heidi Adams is the leader at the moment with her 20:14.45 personal best and No. 5 teammate Jordin Vaughn comes in at 20:58.54. If Kearney is on their A-game on Saturday, they should challenge for third straight trip to the podium.


Keep an eye out for...

Nerinx Hall

Nerinx Hall was a very close second at the District 1 field, just behind rival St. Joseph's Academy, in a field featuring some of the state's best individuals and teams. They head into the Class 4 finals with a legitimate shot at their first team trophy since 2015, and potentially their first team title since 2014. 

The Markers are led by freshmen Claire Eash and Sydney Krus, who finished 4th and 8th, respectively, at the District 1 meet. Hollye Brinkley and 400 meter standout Luciana Medina make it four girls under 20:00 for Nerinx, and Kailyn Stann at No. 5 provides just the right touch to give this squad a shot at the Class 4 title. 


West Plains

After a 10-year trophy drought, the West Plains ladies reclaimed their spot among the state's best with Class 4 victories in 2020 and 2021. A sixth place finish in 2022 may have disappointed the Zizzers, but they are back with a vengeance and appear poised to return to the Greg Hall Champions Plaza this weekend. 

Led by junior standout Emily Ritter, West Plains was not too far off a very strong Bolivar team at the District 2 meet this past weekend. They know what it takes to succeed at the state meet so do not be surprised if West Plains leapfrogs some of those ranked ahead of them and head home with trophy number 27 this Saturday.


Sisely Mitchell - Platte County

Platte County's Sisely Mitchell played runner-up to Harrisonville's Kayleigh Norris on Saturday - like so many others have this season - but she should still be considered a front-runner for the Class 4 crown this Saturday. With an 18:28.50 personal best that earned her the win at her KC Suburban Red Conference meet, Mitchell is among the five best runners in Class 4 heading into this weekend's festivities and should not be counted out.


Mariah Denney - Sullivan

The District 2 runner up to Emery Mayfield was from neither West Plains nor Bolivar nor Jefferson City, but from Sullivan. Freshman Mariah Denney put together a massive performance to pick up the silver medal with a 39-second personal best in 18:34.75. 

As a result, Denney has put herself firmly in the conversation for Class 4 supremacy heading into the weekend. A winner of six meets this fall, including the Gans Creek White Division, Denney knows what it takes to run up front and should not be discounted if she finds herself in the front pack on Saturday.