The Jefferson Blue Jays Cross-Country team has had a historic 2020 season. The Blue Jays’ boys team qualified for the Class 2 State Finals for just the second time in school history, and Jefferson sent two individual runners to the girls division.
The girls would compete first for Jefferson, having both Sophomore Kaelyn Nilson and Junior Hannah Wigger take to the course. Nilson had the highest finish of any Blue Jay competing in the state meet, placing 47th with a time of 23:15.8. Wigger had a strong run as well, finishing in 70th place with a time of 23:49.8.
Head coach Mollie Rhodes praised both Nilson and Wiggers’ performance after the race.
“The girls raced well from beginning to end, and while they did not medal at the state meet, they ran good individual races,” Rhodes said. “I am proud of the work that the girls have put in this season despite everything that has gone on.”
After the girls side had finished, the state finals meet began for the boys, where the Blue Jays had their entire team competing. Jefferson managed to bring home 14th place as a team, finishing with 330 points, beating Russellville by just seven points.
The top performances from the boys came from Junior Jeremiah Chipps and Sophomore C.J. Johnson. Chipps finished with the best time for the Blue Jays in the boys division, placing 70th with a time of 18:38.5. Johnson finished not far behind in 79th place with a time of 18:47.0.
Chipps after the race discussed how he thought his performance was.
“For me, it was a really good race,” Chipps said. “I feel like it was a really good race to send the Seniors off with, and it gave me a lot of motivation for next season.”
While Chipps and Johnson were the highlights for Jefferson, the Blue Jays still had solid performances from the rest of the team, including three additional runners finishing in the top 150. Senior Christian Stark ran a personal best at the meet, placing 124th with a time of 19:36.3, Senior Bradley Glass finished 138th with a time of 19:55.1 and Sophomore Ian Ehrhardt finished 149th with a time of 20:32.3.
Jackson Hueter and Matthew Glass were the final runners to complete the course for Jefferson. Hueter finished 158th with a time of 21:03.4, and Glass finished 162nd with a time of 22:01.7.
Following the race, Rhodes was quick to praise the entire team’s performance.
“I was very proud of them and the work that they put in all season long,” Rhodes said. “The boys as a team and individually ran a great race, and I am proud about how they ended the season.