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Krieg reels in the field, leads Festus to Forest Park Festival championship

Krieg reels in the field, leads Festus to Forest Park Festival championship

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ST. CHARLES — An avid fisherman, Festus High sophomore Cullen Krieg saved his biggest catch for the final 100 meters Saturday morning.

Sprinting though a steady rain, Krieg reeled in Timberland senior Trevor Peimann moments before reaching the finish line to capture first place in the 15th Forest Park Cross Country Festival at McNair Park.

“I was racing for time at the very beginning and then I thought, ‘I’ve got to race for the win today,' ” Krieg said. “Coach (Bryant Wright) tells us to always be closing and I had to close.”

Krieg, who finished third at the Fort Zumwalt North Twilight meet last week, crossed the finish line with a winning time of 16 minutes, 7.3 seconds, and junior teammates Jacob Meyers and Nathan Wolk placed fifth and sixth respectively as Festus earned the team title with 33 points.

“We had a big U-turn at the halfway point and I looked behind me and saw our top five guys so close,” Meyers said. “You can’t judge the race by the second mile, but I knew we had something special going.”

Timberland took second place with 48 points and registered four runners among the top 11 finishers. Peimann, who set a school record with a time of 15:46.2 at the Fort Zumwalt North race last week, joined Krieg at the front of the pack from the outset.

“This is an enjoyable course to run,” said Peimann, who finished with a time of 16:08.5. “(Krieg) is a solid runner and it was pretty even pacing. We were always within five seconds of the previous mile, which is pretty good.”

Lutheran St. Charles junior Caleb Lind finished third with a time of 16:16.1 in helping the Cougars place third as a team with 58 points. Lind finished sixth last Saturday at Fort Zumwalt North and learned a valuable lesson.

“I knew I needed to stay up with the front pack,” Lind said. “If I fell behind, I knew I was going to end up running all by myself, so I wanted to pace off the two guys in the front.”

Sporting his brand new, multi-colored, neon spikes, Timberland junior Tyler Freiner finished fourth, setting a personal best time of 16:25.5.

“I like to race in the rain; these are really my favorite conditions and I got some new spikes this past weekend, so I was really excited to get a PR with these,” Freiner said.

For Timberland coach Dan Staples, who also saw freshman Dalton Langley win the freshman/sophomore race by more than 29 seconds, the proximity in the standings to the powerhouse Festus program shows that the future is bright.

“Festus is just a phenomenal program. It was great that they were here to push my boys and to be as close to them and as competitive as we were, I’m very, very happy,” said Staples, who is in his sixth year coaching the Wolves. “I’ve had some nice boys teams at Timberland, but this is becoming the best boys team we’ve ever had.”

But it was the overall team depth of Festus that provided the difference on Saturday and it did not end with the seven varsity runners. Sophomore Ian Schram won the JV race at 16:21.9 — a time that would have placed him fourth overall in the varsity race.

“That’s the dogfight that we have. Our top five are really good and our second five are pretty good,” Wright said. “With the big (graduating senior) turnover we had, we have a lot of younger guys running right now and they look hungry to me.”

Forest Park Festival Boys White Division

The Union girls team watches their teammate finish during the Forest Park Cross Country Festival on Saturday, September 12, 2020 at McNair Park in St. Charles, Mo. Paul Halfacre, STLhighschoolsports.com

UNION'S BEINE WINS WHITE DIVISION RACE

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Forest Park Festival took place at McNair Park in St. Charles this year largely without spectators. The 16 boys teams from Franklin County and St. Charles County were split into two divisions — a Green Division that ran in the morning and a White Division that ran in the afternoon.

In the afternoon race, Union senior Dominick Beine outpaced the field with a time of 17:43.5, helping the Wildcats earn the top spot in the White Division with 53 points.

Union also received a fourth-place effort from junior Gabriel Hoekel and had five of the first 21 runners to cross the finish line. 

Fort Zumwalt North sophomore Taylor Mason took second place with a time of 17:56.3 as the Panthers battled Pacific for the second spot in the team standings. Both finished with 62 points, but the tie was broken by the sixth runner for Fort Zumwalt North, Alan Meyer, who placed 20th.

Troy junior Brody Orf finished third becoming the final runner to come in under the 18-minute mark in the White Division.

Pacific received top 10 finishes from junior Collin Haley, sophomore Nick Hunkins and junior Benjamin Brunjas to earn third place.

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