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Lafayette’s cross country team ready to uphold winning tradition

Lafayette’s varsity cross country team boasts six returning runners. From left are Tommy Laarman, Ryan Rigabar, Devin Meyrer, Austin Hindman, Josiah McElmurry, Dylan Quisenberry and Alec Haines.

Lafayette’s varsity cross country team boasts six returning runners. From left are Tommy Laarman, Ryan Rigabar, Devin Meyrer, Austin Hindman, Josiah McElmurry, Dylan Quisenberry and Alec Haines.

The 2014 Lancers have a lineup many coaches would love to have an opportunity to work with. But Lafayette coach Sean O’Connor has them and he wants to keep them.

“I love this year’s team,” O’Connor said. “They are a great group of guys who are dedicated and have worked extremely hard this summer to improve. I can’t wait for them to realize their potential this year.”

The Lancers program ranks among the best  in the state. In the last two years, Lafayette has won two sectional championships and finished third in the state meet in Jefferson City.

That’s the best results ever for Lafayette at state. Naturally, it is a point of pride for O’Connor.

“I think it says a lot of positive things about the program as well as the fine young men who make up the program,” O’Connor said. “They are the reason why we’ve been so successful at the state competition the last few years.”

“From last year to this year, we only lost one guy, so six of the seven varsity guys this year have run the state meet before,” he said.”That experience is invaluable because it can’t truly be replicated. You can go to big, state and national caliber meets but they still don’t have the same feel or aura as the state meet.”

Talented junior Dylan Quisenberry was eighth last year in the Class 4 state meet. He finished with a time of 16 minutes, 9.04 seconds. He put in many hours of running to get ready for this fall’s campaign.

“This was the best summer that Dylan has ever had,” O’Connor said. “So far he looks great and his training is way beyond where it was at this point last year. It’s still pretty early in the season to tell where he is in comparison to the other great runners in the state, but I think he will have a great year.”

Of course, O’Connor does not want to put the weight of high expectations on Quisenberry.

“It’s still a bit early for expectations. He and I have talked about some goals but it will take a few more races before we can develop realistic expectations,” O’Connor said. “Ultimately I would like to see him finish the season as an all-state runner.”

The Lancers boast many other talented runners.

Junior Alec Haines was 35th at state with a time of 16:37.31.

“Alec has looked amazing so far this season,” O’Connor said. “This is the first season that he will not be competing in both cross country and club soccer so he had been able to fully dedicate his time to training and it has shown.”

O’Connor said he would like Haines to end his season as an all-state runner alongside Quisenberry and sophomore Austin Hindman, who was 38th at state last fall with a time of 16:38.67.

“Austin has also looked great so far this year,” O’Connor said. “He has been putting in a lot of solid work so far this season and continues to make big improvements each and every week.”

Another potential all-state runner, according to O’Connor, is junior Devin Meyrer, who was 48th at state last year with a time of 16:45.91.

“He has had an amazing offseason and continues to impress me each and every day,” O’Connor said. “He is the epitome of how hard work and dedication pays off.”

Sophomore Tommy Laarman and freshman Nassim Oufattole also are running with the varsity.

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