Faster, Better, Stronger – Farmington Meet


Stella Steck

Caleb Jenerkerson (10) starting off strong while getting in front of a group of competitors.

Lizzie Crouch, Writer

Saturday afternoon the Blackcat Cross Country team headed to Engler Park to race against 38 teams which included some vigorous competition, such as Notre Dame, Farmington, and Steelville. The 5k course consisted of running around two lakes, pacing through wooded areas and crossing bridges. No matter where the athletes were on the path, fans and friends could be found cheering them on.  The park was crowded with supporters from every school, witnessing the victories of our Fredericktown Blackcats.

The first race of the day was the boys varsity consisting of 121 contestants. Within two and half miles Lyndan Gruenke (11) snatched the lead for the boys and kept his place until the finish. He had only grasped the win by five seconds due to pressure from Devin St. Clair, a senior from St. Genevieve, who was crossing the finish line right behind him. Not only did Lyndan win first, he also broke his own school record set during the Bismarck meet. Getting a time under 17:00 minutes was a goal he had been trying to achieve. “I was pumped and excited to finish with a new personal record that I have been working on all season,” stated Lyndan. He does give some credit to Andrew Starkey’s lucky shoes that he has worn in previous races, and believes that they are very comfortable and will someday be worth money.

A senior on the team, Elijah Vance, also had an outstanding run. Like many other runners, he achieved a new personal record along with Braden Braswell (9), who ran with the junior varsity team, shaving his time down to 21:19.95.  Along with other team accomplishments,  Caleb Jenkerson made the top 5o of most improved runners in the state of Missouri.

Boys Varsity and Boys JV

Lyndan Grunke(V) — 16:55.85 – 1st

Elijah Vance(V) — 19:19.17- 61st

Matthew Starkey (V) — 20:41.10 – 88th

Johnnie Hurst (V) — 21:50.49 – 104th

Andrew Starkey(JV) — 20:12.01 – 29th

Caleb Jenkerson (JV) — 20:46.94 – 41st

Braden Braswell (JV) — 21:19.95 – 56th


Ava Laut (11) and Patience Garland (10)  were the only girls for Fredericktown to compete in the girls varsity and junior varsity races. The girls stayed dedicated throughout their course and kept up with other schools. Patience continues to pursue progression within her races, trying to beat her own personal record of 28:37, which she had come fairly close to in this meet. Similarly, Ava Laut performed well during her competition; she says, “The Farmington course is personally my favorite and one of the easier courses.”

 Girls Varsity and Girls JV

Ava Laut (V) — 23:38.11 – 50th

Patience Garland (JV) — 28:44.63 – 66th


The Blackcat Cross Country team will compete again in Dexter, MO, on October 24, where several Bootheel schools will make an appearance.  The Dexter Invitational will promise a fresh course for the athletes and provide an opportunity to top their personal best records.