Gainesville cross country team had more state-qualifiers than ever before

photo courtesy of Gainesville cross country team Three Gainesville Bulldogs cross country runners qualified to compete at the 2023 class 2 Missouri state cross country meet. Pictured above with coach Gary Emrick (far right) and assistant coach David Murphy (far left), are, from left: Kaitlyn Kahl, Ryder Murphy and Archer Luna.

The 2023 Gainesville cross country team proved that when you put in the effort, it shows. 

The team’s motto all season has been “No Grit. No Grind. No Greatness,” words the teammates have lived by. The hard work paid off, and for the first time in Bulldog cross country history, a total of three runners qualified to compete in the Nov. 3 class 2 state meet at Gans Creek cross country course in Columbia. 

“I want to congratulate all of our runners on an awesome season. They trusted the process that David and I used to structure our program. They were grateful, relentless and aggressive, not afraid to make a mistake and never, ever gave up,” Coach Gary Emrick said. “They worked hard all season with long hours of training, showing great results down the stretch.”

Bulldog front-runner Ryder Murphy, a junior this year, finished the course in 18 minutes 30.4 seconds, grabbing 78th place at the race. Ryder is the son of Bulldogs cross country assistant coach David Murphy and his wife Gayla. 

Freshman standout Archer Luna, son of Josh Luna and Heather Luna, ran the course in 20 minutes 7.5 seconds, coming in 142nd place.

In the girls race, Kaitlyn Kahl, daughter of Ronnie and Jennifer Kahl, ran the race in 22 minutes 22.8 seconds, coming in 56th place. 

“Together we have created a base line along which we can build our program for future runners and seasons. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with these amazing runners,” Emrick said.  

Ozark County Times

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