JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Amos Bartelsmeyer always trusts in his kick.
It proved the difference yet again in the Class 3 state meet Saturday at Oak Hills Golf Center. Bartelsmeyer, a senior at MICDS, was in the chase pack throughout the first half of the race. Once he started closing in on the leaders, he grew more confident that he could still grab the win.
He closed on Ste. Genevieve’s Andrew Moore at the final turn and passed him in the final 200 meters and turned on the burners to cross the finish line first in 16:24. Moore held on for second in 16:36.
“I started gaining on him going down this hill (after cresting Firehouse Hill), I felt, ‘OK, I can get this guy. He’s within my reach,’” Bartelsmeyer said. “On that last turn I was making up a lot of ground, and I could feel that I had a kick left in me and that he was done so I said, ‘Let’s go for it. Let’s use it.’”
Bartelsmeyer knew something was amiss early in the season at the Forest Park Cross Country Festival. He didn’t feel like himself and took 13th in 16:03. He soon discovered he had mono and was forced to take two weeks off.
Once he started his return, he only had two regular season meets left to prepare for the postseason, but he never doubted his abilities.
“The first workout back was tough. It was really tough,” said Bartelsmeyer, who recently signed with Georgetown. “I think I just had in my mind that I could do it. I just have to work towards it and I’ll get there. It wasn’t a question of whether I could do it or not. It’s just I have to get there; it’s something I had to do.”
Bartelsmeyer admits his speed gives him more confidence on the track than in cross country. But he knows when and how to use it for cross country success as well.
“I just tell myself I have to be there. If I’m there at the end, I have confidence I can beat anybody,” Bartelsmeyer said. “It’s tough for me to keep my focus throughout a 5k race, but if I can put myself in position at the end, then I think I can do it.”
The Class 3 team race turned out to be just as tightly contested. Warrensburg had the front-end advantage of Alex Burson and Trent Classen finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Festus, however, was able to put all five of its scoring runners in the top 25 and capture the team trophy with 58 points. Warrensburg was runner-up with 65.
“In August when I talked to the boys I told them, ‘Hey, if we’re going to win a state championship we have to do it as pack. We don’t have the No. 1-2 guys,’” Festus coach Bryant Wright said. “They looked at me and said, ‘OK coach. We’ll do what we have to do.’ At that moment the dedication they put in during the summer season let me know that these boys wanted to win.”
The Tigers’ sixth man, Dustin Price, even produced Saturday with a 26th-place finish, and Wright said he’s dropped more than three minutes off his time from last season. Sophomore Michael Karls led the way with a seventh-place finish (16:45) after not making the top seven on last year’s runner-up squad.