By MIKE NESTER
West Carroll harrier Briar Nevills is heading to the state cross country finals this weekend.
The junior placed fourth overall in the Oregon Class 1A Cross Country Sectional Saturday, Nov. 2, at Oregon's Park West.
Nevills ran the three-mile course in 17:07 and was the second qualifier not on an advancing team to qualify for state. Dawson Smith of Rock Falls finished first in 16:24.
"The boys’ race started a little late so Briar had to do a little extra work to stay warmed up and loose," said Thunder coach Travis Findlay. "He was a little tight in the first mile but got into a great pace and competed."
Added Findlay, “Briar had plenty left in the tank to have a strong kick to keep his position at fourth. “He had the expectation of qualifying for state and went out and did it. He's going to be ready for Saturday."
Nevills is the first West Carroll athlete to qualify for state in cross country. He just missed qualifying as a sophomore, finishing one place away from advancing.
Also advancing to the state meet is Eastland's Stephen Reifsteck, who placed 14th overall and was the seventh and final individual qualifier with a time of 17:34. Teammate Jayden Day finished 21st in 18:07.
Nevills and Reifsteck will compete in the Class 1A state finals Saturday, Nov. 9, at Detweiller Park in Peoria. The three-mile race begins at 10 a.m. with the awards ceremony set for 11.