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Historic Effort Paces Hawklets to District Title

The district-winning Rockhurst cross country team poses with their trophy. (L-R) Andrew Davis, Danny Gajewski, Hudson Tsevis, Henry Acorn, Bill Hayes, Justin Waldron and Kai Somasegaran

The Rockhurst cross country team made school history on their way to winning the Missouri Class 5 District 4 meet. For the first time, all seven runners qualified individually for state, with three placing in the top ten. That collective effort helped them cruise to a first place finish out of 17 teams.

Leading the charge in this historic race were the five junior runners on the team. Expectations were high, especially, on team captain Henry Acorn, who was coming off a new personal record the week prior, a performance that also ranked as the third-fastest 5k in school history. And Acorn delivered, finishing first out of the 118 racers competing in the event.

“I just treat every race like it’s the same,” said Acorn. “Just another day in the office.”

Tailing behind Acorn by 14 seconds was Andrew Davis, placing second in the race. Shortly after Acorn and Davis were Kai Somasegaren in seventh, Bill Hayes, 12th, and Justin Waldron, 18th.

The two senior runners on the team, Danny Gajewski and Hudson Tsevis, placed 25th and 26th, respectively, finished with just a .15 second time gap between them.

While the runners’ finishing times were staggered for the most part, the team displayed their packing abilities throughout the race. Acorn, Davis and Somasegaren came through the first mile mark with just a one-second difference between them. Gajewski, Tsevis and Waldron hit that same point with just a two-second gap. Hayes was the only isolated runner; however, he still remained close to the team, only four seconds off Acorn, Davis and Somasegaren.

Even with their teammates by their sides, the runners still faced challenges in the race. They had to deal with the  colder weather that just pushed into the Kansas City area in the past couple weeks. The race-time temperatures in the mid-30s were much lower than the team was used to.

“When you’re on the line, you are absolutely freezing,” said Tsevis.

Even with the challenge of the cold, the runners were able to push themselves through.

“After the first 800 meters or so, you didn’t even feel it anymore. Everyone was so locked that the cold wasn’t even a thought,” said Tsevis.

While the spotlight may be on Acorn and Davis in the top two spots, each and every runner played a part in this historic race. To qualify for state individually, a runner must place in the top 30 runners. The team achieving this was not only a first in school history, but a first in the Kansas City area since roughly 2008.

With this feat accomplished, Rockhurst managed to earn their first place win, beating the second place team by 40 points. That margin of victory was the largest for any of the districts in Missouri Class 5 cross country.

While it may be easy to get caught up in celebration of this impressive race, the team has their goals set higher. The team will continue on to Gans Creek in Columbia on Saturday to compete in the Missouri state championship. The team has not won a state championship since 2018, meaning no member of the current team has ever won state.

With the team more locked in and hungry than ever, they look to bring home a new state championship.

“We celebrate after state,” said Acorn. “Job’s not finished.”


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About the Contributor
Charlie Porto
Charlie Porto, Staff Reporter
My name is Charlie Porto. I am a junior, and this is my first year on the newspaper staff. English has always been my favorite subject at Rockhurst, so writing for the newspaper has always been an enticing idea. Newspaper has also been interesting to me as a way to further dive into the Rockhurst community. I have never had the opportunity to interview people, so I’m looking forward to the chance. Outside of newspaper, I am on the cross country and tennis teams. In addition, I am involved with the Ignatian Leadership Program, and I am a candidate for NHS. This year I hope to have successful sports seasons and get more involved with the Rockhurst community. I also hope to further improve my writing abilities, and my ability to perform interviews and edit stories. I’m looking forward to building connections with the newspaper staff and helping spread stories across Rockhurst. Beyond high school, I’m not sure what I would like to pursue in college and later on in a career, but a career involving English has always interested me.
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