JEFFERSON CITY -- Kelly freshman Sarah Ruff parlayed a personal best into an All-State finish at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 girls cross country meet last week.
Ruff finished 14th -- top 25 runners earn All-State honors -- with a personal-best time of 21:27.71 over the 3.1 mile (5K) Oak Hills Golf Center course in Jefferson City. "I had hoped that she was going to have a real strong race," said Kelly coach Rachel Groner, "and she ended up having her best race of the season."
"She was so excited," added Groner.
Ruff qualified for the state meet with a seventh-place finish in district competition. At the time, her coach marveled at the superior strategy employed by the youthful runner. "She's becoming such a smart runner and uses strategy as she runs," said Groner, "so we tried to use the same strategy at state and she hung to it and ran a great race."
Making Ruff's story even more compelling is the fact that she was also a member of Kelly's state champion softball team. The two seasons, softball and cross country, run concurrently.
Said Groner, "She played softball during the week and, on weekends, she would come out and run with us. She was actually doing me a favor because I had such a small team, and she ended up really excelling."
Kelly senior Michael Glastetter, a medalist in 2003 with a 22nd-place finish, returned to the MSHSAA meet, but enjoyed less success.
A nagging season-long injury prevented Glastetter from achieving the results he desired. The 2003 district champion fell to 13th place in the 2004 district meet.
"He expected to do much better," said Groner, "but he has had an ankle tear the entire season. He tried to hang in there, but eventually it overtook him."
Glastetter finished 107th with a time of 20:02.50.