JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tyler Rush had the thrill of finishing 1-2 with his teammate last year and claiming a team title.
Linn could not defend its Class 1 title Saturday, but Rush was able to make the final move to secure the individual title in 16:33. He pushed a fast pace from the start and cleared the first mile in the fastest time of the day at 4:55 on the Oak Hills Golf Center course.
His pace slowed slightly over the next two miles, but he was able to keep Crane’s Thomas Chabrecek at arm’s length and win by 16 seconds.
“I felt a little fast,” Rush said. “My plan was to stick around third or fourth, but then they just took off and it was faster than I anticipated. That second mile I slowed up a tad to get my legs under me, and the third mile I picked it up again.
“It’s one of my biggest dreams ever – I’ve always wanted to be state champion.”
Chabrecek held on for second place (16:49).
“If I was going to get first, I was going to have to end up on the ground at the end; it was going to be a hard one,” Chabrecek said. “I knew if I was going to win I was going to have to conserve a little bit, and I tried to pick it up the last mile and catch him, but it didn’t work out.”
West Platte claimed the Class 1 title with 87 points behind Spencer Hudson’s third-place finish. Linn was second with 101.
Plato sophomore Lexi McNiel made short work of the Class 1 girls’ race. She had opened up an 11-second lead after the first mile, and she ballooned that to nearly 40 seconds over the second mile. She reached the finish line in 20:27, and did not have a challenger in sight.
“When I got to the mile, I knew I had to go, so I tried to run my second mile because I knew (the hill) would get me over there,” McNiel said. “When I got to the top, I surged a little bit and pumped my arms and made it work.”
DeKalb sophomore Ryleigh Reagan finished runner-up in 21:08.
Salisbury secured the team title with 54 points as Amber Linneman and Maria Weimer finished eighth and ninth, respectively, and teammate Savannah Ratliff was right on their heels in 11th.