LINN — Callaway County will be represented by four runners at the state cross country championships.
Fulton junior Kayanna Gaines advanced by taking eighth in 21 minutes, 24.58 seconds at the Class 3, District 4 girls' championships Saturday. North Callaway junior Kaleigh Moore also qualified by coming in sixth in 21:05.67 in the Class 2, District 4 girls' championships.
New Bloomfield sophomore Nathan Hinrichs and junior Caleb Distler both advanced by finishing fifth (17:28.68) and 15th (18:03.11), respectively, in the Class 2, District 4 boys' championships.
The top 15 runners and top two teams in their respective district meets qualified for the state championships, which are moving to Gans Creek Recreation Area in Columbia.
Moore — a state medalist, three-time qualifier and two-time all-state pick — will run in the Class 2 girls' race at 10:50 a.m. next Saturday. Gaines — making her first appearance at the state championships — will compete in the Class 3 girls' race at 11:30.
Distler and Hinrichs will run in the Class 2 boys' race at 9:35. Distler is a three-time qualifier and two-time all-state selection, while Hinrichs will be a newcomer to the state championships.
Gaines guided the Fulton girls to an eighth-place finish with 168 points in Class 3, District 4 on Saturday. Freshman Taylor Hickerson was 31st in 23:36.29, freshman Jonna Vanzetti took 42nd in 24:37.28, senior Caitlin Sievert came in 48th in 24:58.68 and junior Anna Lowry placed 60th in 27:17.16.
Fulton sophomore Shaun Wolfe finished 22nd in 18:38.69 as the Hornets placed ninth with 225 points in the Class 3, District 4 boys' championships. Junior Isaac Avery was 45th in 19:49.39, sophomore Xander Noel took 51st in 20:15.71, freshman Dennis McGregory came in 57th in 20:40.94 and sophomore Joshua Bonnell placed 59th in 20:56.07.
Moore sparked the North Callaway girls to a fourth-place finish with 99 points in Class 2, District 4. Sophomore Rachael Jeffries just missed qualifying for state, taking 16th in 22:00.11.
Senior Daelyn Schmauch was 24th in 23:34.03 for the Ladybirds, while sophomore Piper Jeffries came in 32nd in 24:03.55. Senior Brianna Douglas finished 37th in 24:41.51.
South Callaway sophomore Raegan Brown also barely missed out on returning to state for a second straight year, placing 17th in 22:22.09. The Lady Bulldogs did not field a full team.
New Bloomfield sophomore Jill Pry was 29th in 23:50.75 as the Lady Wildcats placed sixth with 151 points. Sophomore Abby Baxter came in 33rd in 24:15.71, senior Kylie Quinn took 34th in 24:18.77, sophomore Mikaela Lemelin finished 41st in 25:00.14 and sophomore Brooke Talbot placed 50th in 27:47.37.
Hinrichs and Distler directed the New Bloomfield boys to a fifth-place finish with 149 points in Class 2, District 4. Sophomore Brian Figard was 37th in 20:00.79, sophomore Jace Pitzen came in 52nd in 20:38.63 and sophomore Aiden Carr took 64th in 22:26.37.
North Callaway junior Grant Eichman finished 33rd in 19:40.31 as the Thunderbirds placed seventh with 186 points. Sophomore David Baires was 41st in 20:19.74, freshman Brendan Reinhard came in 43rd in 20:21.21, junior Joseph Crawford took 49th in 20:36.17 and junior Noah Scrogum finished 51st in 20:38.25.
South Callaway junior Dustin Russell placed 25th in 18:48.80 as the Bulldogs did not field a complete team. Junior Raife Evans was 35th in 19:48.93, freshman Dylan Dugan came in 48th in 20:35 and senior Nathanael Shuler took 56th in 20:44.79.
Ryan Boland can be reached at (573) 826-2422, or on Twitter @FultonSunSports.