Rodgers, Thurmon headed to state meet

By Theo Tate
Posted 11/2/23

All season long, Malia Rodgers and Jadrian Thurmon have been a dynamic duo for the Montgomery County cross country team, combining for 12 medals and two victories.

Now, Rodgers and Thurmon are …

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Rodgers, Thurmon headed to state meet


All season long, Malia Rodgers and Jadrian Thurmon have been a dynamic duo for the Montgomery County cross country team, combining for 12 medals and two victories.

Now, Rodgers and Thurmon are hoping to turn in strong showings at the state cross country meet as they will represent the Wildcats at the Class 3 state meet, which is scheduled for Nov. 4 at Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia.

Both Rodgers and Thurmon finished seventh in the girls and boys races, respectively, at the Class 3, District 3 championship meet on Oct. 28 at South Callaway High School to clinch state berths. Rodgers finished with a time of 20:29 in the girls race to qualify for state for the third time, while Thurmon ran a 17:20 to clinch his second straight state berth. It is the sixth consecutive year MCHS has a state qualifier.

Rodgers, a senior, is heading back to state for the first time since her sophomore year.. She missed last year’s postseason due to a groin injury.

“I’m so excited,” Rodgers said. “It’s been a while. I’m super pumped.”

Rodgers earned two all-state medals, placing 13th in her freshman year and 16th in her sophomore season. Rodgers, who will run in the state girls race at 9:45 a.m. on Nov. 4, said she is looking forward to ending her high school cross country career at Columbia.

“I really love that course,” Rodgers said. “I really hope that I can end it on a good note, which will be all-state. Cross your fingers.”

Thurmon, who is scheduled to run at 9 a.m., is looking to improve on last year’s 71st-place finish at state.

“Everyone is bringing their A-game that day,” Thurmon said. “It’s not going to be a cakewalk for anyone. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a nice day, so everyone is going to be ready.”

Thurmon, a junior, picked up his seventh medal of the season with his seventh-place finish at districts.. Last year, he came in 29th at districts to earn a trip to Gans Creek.

“I’m still proud of how far I’ve come,” said Thurmon, who won the Mexico Invitational in September. “Given the time I did on this course, I know that I have sure-fire confidence in my training and in coach (Chasity Rodgers) in what she has done for me and the faith that she had in me to get to the point of where I’m at now.”

Rodgers said she is thrilled that Thurmon is joining her at state this year.

“It means everything,” the senior said. “We train so hard every day. He’s such a hard worker. It means everything to get to go to state with someone who loves the sport as much as he does.”

Rodgers has bounced back from an early-season stress fracture injury that forced her to miss the first two weeks of the season. She has five medals, including a win at the Eastern Missouri Conference meet on Oct. 14.

“I love Malia so much,” Thurmon said. “She’s such a hard worker. She gives it her all, no matter what. She always has that look of determination on her face.”

Both the MCHS boys and girls teams placed 12th at districts. The girls had 282 points and the boys had 366.

Freshman Austyn Robinson (48th, 23:20), freshman Olivia Spurgeon (84th, 25:43), sophomore Baleigh Nichols (92nd, 26:20), sophomore Taylor River (102nd, 27:17) and sophomore Katlyn Kolling (106th, 27:29) were the other runners for the Wildcats in the girls race.

“I love all of them so much,” Rodgers said. “They’re so goofy and I love them. They’re my little freshies. I’m so sad to leave them, but I know they’ll just keep progressing because they are freshmen. They just keep getting better.”

Junior Beckham Cothren (79th, 20:18), freshman Jacob Roesner (89th, 20:39), sophomore Cooper Sellenriek (91st, 20:42) and junior Brendan Craven (114th, 22:07) were the other MCHS competitors in the boys race.

“They work hard, they are determined and they are strong,” Thurmon said. “All of them are up and coming runners. They don’t quite know they have the ability to run as fast as they do, but they will find it within the next year or two.”


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