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CROSS COUNTRY: Joplin, Webb City athletes shine at Southern Stampede

Jason Peake

The Southern Stampede brings out the best in Joplin High School senior Ian Horton. 

For the second straight year, Horton recorded a personal-best time at the annual cross country gathering.

Competing in the Green Division, Horton crossed the line third overall with a new personal-best time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds on Saturday morning at the Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.

“I’m really happy,” Horton said. “It’s still early in the season and I was just two seconds off the school record. I have a lot of training left, so I feel like I’m in a good spot. And I PR’d by 20 seconds today. My previous PR (15:42) was here last year…so about 20 seconds faster this year.”

Joplin’s Ian Horton and Webb City’s Evan Stevens led area runners at Saturday’s Southern Stampede on the MSSU campus. Horton finished third and Stevens was 15th at the event. Photo by Israel Perez.

In the annual event’s large school division, the only runners to finish ahead of Horton were Blue Springs’ Keagan Enicks (15:14) and Nixa’s Aaron Ashley (15:19).

“Going into the race, one of my coaches told me to hang and bang,” Horton said. “I wanted to hang with the top group, not leave too early, and just go from there.  

“I love this course, too, it’s basically a home meet for us,” Horton added. “And we had great weather. It was just a great competitive environment with all the fans here. It was a great day to race.” 

Horton, who finished 16th at last year’s Class 5 state cross country championships, said Saturday’s performance was one to remember. He added the showing is something he’ll look to build on, as well.

“I’m pretty confident I can get the school record,” Horton said. “I’m feeling really fit right now and I’m feeling confident.”

Horton wasn’t the only Joplin athlete to have a good day.

Joplin junior Chance Tindall finished 16th in 15:55, giving the Eagles a pair of runners in the top 20, both of whom recorded a time under 16 minutes.

Eagles junior Grey Edwards was Joplin’s third finisher, crossing the line 73rd.

The JHS boys finished 17th in the team standings for first-year head coach Dora Eastin, who replaced Dustin Dixon this fall.

In the Green Division’s girls race, Joplin senior Katherine Schaefer finished ninth with a time of 19:03.

Schaefer is a newcomer to the JHS program. Schaefer previously attended Hollister, where she earned a pair of state medals at last spring’s Class 3 state track meet by finishing fifth in both the 800 and 1600.

Joplin’s tandem of senior Averi Burks and freshman Kyrie Britton were 96th and 97th, respectively.



The second local finisher after Joplin’s Horton in the boys race was Webb City senior Evan Stevens, who finished 15th with a time of 15:53.

Webb City coach Dustin Miller noted Stevens is not currently at full-strength.

“Evan is battling an injury,” Webb City coach Dustin Miller said. “He could have won today if he was healthy. But his injury didn’t allow that. That’s OK. It’s hard to tamper those expectations when you think you should be winning a bunch of races, but you can’t. But I thought Evan competed well for us today.”

Webb City senior Mason Hedger finished 34th in 16:15. Also for the Cardinals, sophomore Andrew Dawson took 50th.

The Cardinals finished sixth in the team standings.

“I’m really proud of Mason Hedger and Andrew Dawson,” Miller noted. “Andrew ran a monster race today. Our pack guys ran pretty well, we just have to close it up a little.” 

In the girls race, Webb City sophomore Brooke Hedger finished 15th in 19:12, while senior Emily Countryman was 34th in 19:50.

Webb City’s freshman duo of Emma McKinzie and Olivia Klotz finished 85th and 86th.

“I’m really proud of Brooke Hedger,” Coach Miller said. “She ran faster than expected today. She is really turning into a solid No. 1 runner for us. Emily Countryman has been solid, and our freshmen are learning how to race. And I know they’re going to get better throughout the season.”

The Webb City girls were ninth in the standings. 

“For the middle of the season, and with a really hard training cycle right now, I’m proud of our guys and our girls,” Miller said. “And I look forward to seeing us progress the rest of the season.” 

Joplin’s Katherine Schaefer (1464) was the top local female finisher in the large school division at Saturday’s Southern Stampede. Schaefer finished ninth in the Green Division.


The huge meet featured a large number of local squads. 

Carthage’s Eddy Fuentes finished 59th in the boys race in 16:34 and Carl Junction’s Jack Lawson took 78th in 16:41. Carson Newell was Neosho’s top finisher (97th).

Nixa won the team title on the boys side.

On the girls side, Carl Junction’s top performer was Marissa Newman (143rd), while Carthage was led by Jennifer Rodas (153rd).

Harrisonville’s Kayleigh Norris was the girls medalist in 17:43. Rogers, Arkansas, won the girls team title.

There were 341 runners in the boys race and 270 runners in the girls race.


Joplin’s Mia Grubbs competes during Saturday’s Southern Stampede at Missouri Southern State University. 


Webb City’s Olivia Klotz is pictured during Saturday’s Southern Stampede at MSSU.


Pictured is Joplin’s Chance Tindall. Tindall finished 16th in the large school division.


Webb City’s Andrew Dawson competes during the 2023 Southern Stampede on Saturday at MSSU. Photos by Israel Perez.


Joplin’s Averi Burks is pictured during Saturday’s Southern Stampede.


Carthage’s Jenna Wilson is pictured during the Southern Stampede on Saturday at MSSU. All photos by Israel Perez/SoMo Sports.




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