Parkway runners sweep 5A cross country state titles

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Parkway senior Hayden Kingfisher and junior Sara Funderburk swept the Class 5A boys and girls state cross country titles Tuesday at Northwestern State University.

Kingfisher entered the track at Walter Ledet Stadium about 20 yards ahead of defending state champion Eric Coston of Covington St. Paul’s and maintained that lead all the way to the finish line.

Kingfisher covered the 3-mile course in 15 minutes, 35.8 seconds, about four seconds faster than Coston.

In addition to Coston, Kingfisher beat the two other runners who finished ahead of him last year.

Funderburk trailed Baton Rouge St. Joseph’s Annie Hill with a few hundred meters to go. But she raced past Hill with a strong kick and won by 5 seconds. Funderburk’s time was 18:40.2.

Benton’s Stephen Singleton finished runner-up in the Class 4A boys race. Singleton ran a 16:38.8. Assumption’s Jacob Daigle won in 16:32.4.

Benton came up just short in its bid for a third straight 4A boys title. The Tigers scored 101 points. Assumption won with 91 and Leesville was second with 97.

Other Benton runners in the scoring were Logan Caskey (15th, 17:31.4), Josh Caskey (23rd, 17:46), Alex Whittington (25th, 17:51) and Logan Gaydos (36th, 18:12.8).

Assumption had three of the top 11 finishers. Leesville placed two in the top 10.

The Parkway boys and girls both finished fifth in 5A. The Airline girls finished eighth.

South Louisiana private schools took the top four spots in the boys division — New Orleans Jesuit (85 points), New Orleans Brother Martin (98), Baton Rouge Catholic (102) and St. Paul’s (105). Parkway scored 163.

Other Parkway runners in the scoring were Jacob Hammons (18th, 16:36.6), Nathan Poovey (41st, 17:02.3), Cole Billiot (51st, 17:08.9) and David Morgan (52nd, 17:11.4).

Airline’s Kaleb Sahlie finished 39th in 17:01.7, leading Airline to a 15th-place finishl

The Parkway girls scored 149 points. St. Joseph’s placed five runners in the top 15 and won easily with 45 points. Mandeville was second with 63.

Other Parkway runners in the scoring were Celeste Cordova (17th, 20:22.2), Ariel McGaffey (42nd, 21:23.3), Kenzie Langen (44th, 21:27.1) and Morgan Ersoff (49th, 21:41.8). Rylie McConnell was 50th and Lindsey Hutcheson 51st.

Airline’s Isabelle Shamblin capped an outstanding freshman season with a 36th-place finish in 21:07.8. Teammate Maya Randle finished three spots back in 21:18.8. Other Airline runners in the scoring were Bethanie Dunn (59th), Emilee Burns (82nd) and Anneliese Jones (85th).

Benton’s Quinci Middlebrooks completed an outstanding cross country career with a 22nd-place finish in the 4A girls race in 21:22.2. Katie McKay finished 30th in her fourth and final state meet in 21:43.5.

Other Benton runners in the scoring were Megan Rainwater (37th, 21:55.3), Haley Dishman (41st, 22:03.9) and Jenna Keys (52nd, 22:38.8).

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com