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Headed to State!

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On Saturday, the Lebanon High School cross country team traveled to Northwest Cedar Hill in the St. Louis area to compete in the Class 5 District 1 race. 

This meet is a qualifier for the state meet and featured 18 schools. Runners qualify for the State meet by finishing top 30 individually or top four as a team.

In total, Lebanon had 5 runners qualify for the State meet, the most LHS has sent since 2009.

Abigail Tague has been the top Lebanon girl all season and Saturday was no different, according to head coach Josh Smith.  Tague jumped to the front of the pack and finished the day in 3rd place and ran a new school record with a time of 18:47. This breaks the previous record of 18:53 from 2007 by Michelle Hicks.

Ella Johnson was the other Lebanon girl to qualify. Johnson ran a near minute personal best time of 19:37 to place 24th. She now is a two-time State qualifier and has been the foundation of the cross country program for the last four years. 

“She had an incredible amount of determination to qualify for State and showed a tremendous amount of grit to continue her season,” Smith stated. “I am proud of her and Abigail for their races on Saturday.”

In the boys race, the top three Yellowjackets made their way to the front of the pack.

Peter Stunja led LHS with a 9th place finish and a new personal best time of 16:13. This is the second year Stunja has qualified to race at the State meet and he has committed to run for Crowder College next season and has been the top Lebanon runner for the last two years.

Kelby Conner was the second qualifier. He completed the 5K in a time of 16:23 and finished 16th to earn another week of racing. 

According to Smith, Conner has put in a tremendous amount of work and miles to get to this point and has also committed to run next year at Crowder College next season.

Liam Allen was the final runner to qualify for State. Allen finished with a time of 16:31 and placed 22nd.  The sophomore standout has set himself up for an incredible high school career.

“These boys have worked incredibly hard for this day and they would not be denied,” said Smith. “These boys have had their sights set on State since this time last year.”

The Class 5 State Championship meet will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday at Gans Creek in Columbia.

Bolivar, West Plains leaving Ozark Conference

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Rumors that had been swirling around for months finally came to fruition on Wednesday morning when the creation of a new conference was announced.

Beginning in August of 2024, the Ozark Mountain Conference will come into existence.
The conference will consist of two former Ozark Conference schools in Bolivar and West Plains, two former Central Ozark Conference schools in Branson and Carl Junction, and two former Big 8 schools in Marshfield and Rogersville.

The big sport that the new conference will affect is football, as the Ozark Conference and Central Ozark Conference haven’t been able to play outside conference games for nearly 12 years in the regular season.

Moving forward, the Yellowjackets will have to schedule two non-conference games to play during the regular season after a 10-team conference meant a nine-game schedule against the rest of the conference.

As of Wednesday morning, decisions haven’t been made on what that will look like.

The following statements were made by the Bolivar and West Plains School Districts:

“A groundbreaking initiative is set to transform the educational and athletic landscape of public schools across southern Missouri. A newly established Ozark Mountain Conference is poised to kick off its inaugural competitive season in the fall of 2024. The new conference is a culmination of collaborative efforts by schools with shared values, sizes, and community beliefs.

A spokesperson for the conference expressed enthusiasm about the prospects, stating, “We are excited about this new opportunity for our schools and our kids. These schools came together looking for a ‘good fit,’ noting they have similar sizes, community beliefs, and district characteristics.””

“The Ozark Mountain Conference brings together districts that are similar in enrollment numbers, as well as shared values and community beliefs. High school enrollment numbers: Branson: 1,350, West Plains: 1,152, Carl Junction: 1,011, Marshfield: 903, Bolivar: 858, Logan-Rogersville: 734.

“These schools are well known for rich traditions and excellence in academics and athletics,”
said Dr. Richard Asbill, Superintendent of Bolivar Schools. “We are excited about the opportunities the Ozark Mountain Conference will offer our students.”

“Moving into a six-team conference of schools our size will allow us to continue to compete at a
high level while giving us flexibility in our non-conference schedule,” said Tim Pezzetti, Athletic
Director. “We are excited to be a founding member of the Ozark Mountain Conference, and we
appreciate the opportunity that the Ozark Conference has given us for the past three years.””

Cross Country team wins HaHa Tonka meet

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The Lebanon High School cross country team competed at HaHa Tonka State Park on Friday in Camdenton.

According to head coach Josh Smith, the temperatures were in the mid 80’s by race time which is not ideal for racing. Despite the weather, the Yellowjackets ran strong and came away with a collection of medals and plaques.

ThevVarsity girls finished first as a team earning a plaque and had six girls earn medals. 

Abigail Tague was the overall meet champion. Tague was followed by Ella Johnson (8th), Jenna Massey (10th), Jordan Eastburn (11th), Bailey Cromer (12th) and Cadence Knight (18th). 

“The team has grown closer as the season has gone on and this team has some big expectations this season,” head coach Josh Smith said. “I was really pleased with their effort and team mindset this weekend.”

The varsity boys placed second as a team and had four individual medalists. 

Peter Stunja led the way for Lebanon finishing 4th. Stunja was followed by Kelby Conner (5th), Liam Allen (8th), and James Peregoy (19th). 

“The boys have a lot of talent and have a chance to finish with a special season if they keep their goals in mind and work as a team,” Smith explained.

Smith stated the following about the junior varsity team:

“The JV girls finished 1st as a team also. This made for three groups of girls finishing first at Camdenton for Lebanon. The Middle School girls finished first on Thursday. The girls have things going in the right direction for now and the future.  We are excited to see the JV and middle schools girls develop into varsity runners the next few seasons.

Madison Chepulis was the meet champion. She was followed by Kaitlynne Duenas- Gonzalez (3rd),  Elle Key (4th), Josie Wadley (12th), Makenna Laird (16th), Allison Takacs (18th). 

The JV boys ran hard and came away with a runner up finish. These boys are pushing for varsity spots.  The JV boys got out and competed hard and looked more confident than they have in previous weeks.  Leading the way for the boys was McCartney Armstrong (4th), Evan McSorley (5th), Aaron Fry (12th), Isaac Knight (15th), Paul DuBose (17th), and Cory Rogers (19th).”

LHS Cross Country teams win home meet

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On Saturday, the Lebanon cross country team hosted the Lebanon Invitational at Nelson Park. 

According to head coach Josh Smith, it was the largest meet Lebanon has hosted in recent history with 16 high schools, 24 middle schools, and totaling over 700 runners.

The Yellowjackets gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about as the team earned three first place plaques and 16 individual medals.

“I am really proud of our kids,” Smith said after the meet. “They have worked hard and are proving that hard work pays off.

“The team also would like to thank everyone that helped with the meet in any way. The school district and the Lebanon Parks Department are always so helpful and go above and beyond to help make the meet a success. The meet isn’t possible without all the workers, sponsors and coaches that put in hours of hard work.”

Lebanon varsity girls started the day off placing first overall as a team and had four individual medalists.  Abigail Tague was Lebanon’s top runner, placing 2nd out of 70 runners with a time of 20:29. Abby was followed by the trio of Nahia Arrasate Larrea, Ella Johnson and Jenna Massey. These ladies placed 13th, 14th and 15th, respectively and helped lock up the team win for the Lady ‘Jackets.  

The varsity boys ran next, and like the Lady ‘Jackets, came out with the first place plaque and four individual medalists. The boys were led by Peter Stunja, who placed 4th with a time of 16:54. Liam Allen was on Stunja’s heels, placing 5th in a time of 16:55. Kelby was the third LHS runner to cross in 7th with a time of 17:13.  James Peregoy had a solid race as the fourth runner to cross, placing 17th.

On the junior varsity side, the girls were able to come out on top with a first place plaque and five individual medalists. The JV team was led by Kaitlynne Duenas-Gonzalez, placing second. Other medalists included Elle Key 3rd, Addison O’Conner 5th, Makenna Laird 17th and Allison Takacs 19th. 

“These ladies did a tremendous job and continue pushing for varsity spots.” Smith said.

The JV boys were finished 2nd overall and competed well. Evan McSorley led the way with a 9th place finish. Other medalists included Aaron Fry 18th and Cory Rogers 20th.

Lebanon will run on Saturday in Joplin at Missouri Southern State University.

The photo above is by Eric Adams of LHS (The Hive – Broadcast News) and a full link to the pictures can be found here.

Cross Country opens up season at Bolivar

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After a long, hot summer of offseason training the hard work put in by the Lebanon High School cross country team paid off in their first meet of the 2023 campaign on Saturday in Bolivar for the SWCCCA meet.

According to head coach Josh Smith, the ‘Jacket runners had a great meet and showed that hard work pays off. 

The team had seven individuals earn medals in the varsity races and two in the JV races.

The varsity girls team finished 5th out of 21 teams and the varsity boys finished 7th out of 35 teams.  The JV girls were 4th out of 8 teams and the JV boys were 6th out of 15 teams.

The varsity girls race included 215 runners.  The top Lebanon varsity girls were as follows:

Abigail Tague- 8th- 19:50

Ella Johnson- 34th- 20:59

Nahia Arrasate Larrea- 35th- 20:59

Jenna Massey- 41st- 21:16

The varsity boys race included 339 runners.  The top Lebanon varsity boys were as follows:

Peter Stunja- 17th- 16:29

Liam Allen- 41st- 16:59

Kelby Conner- 42nd- 16:59

The junior varsity medalist were:

Brock Piercy- 25th- 19:39

Elle Key- 14th- 24:50

Lebanon will host their home cross country meet at 8:00 a.m. this Saturday at Nelson Park.

MSHSAA announces district assignments for Fall sports

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A tradition unlike any other for sports fanatics across the state of Missouri is waiting for the release of the district assignments for each season by MSHSAA.

On Friday, the classes and assignments were released. Below is each fall sport’s class and district along with their respective opponents.


Class 5 District 6 — Branson, Central, Glendale, Lebanon, Parkview, Republic, Willard.


Class 4 District 3 — Carthage, Glendale, Joplin, Kickapoo, Lebanon, Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North, Lee’s Summit West, Nixa, Notre Dame, Ozark, Raymore-Peculiar, Republic, Smith-Cotton, Springfield-Catholic.


Class 4 District 5 — Glendale, Kickapoo, Lebanon, Neosho, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Waynesville.


Class 5 District 5 — Central, Glendale, Kickapoo, Lebanon, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Willard.


Class 1 — Link to teams


Class 3 District 5 — Kickapoo, Lebanon, Neosho, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Waynesville.


Class 5 District 6 — Central, Glendale, Kickapoo, Lebanon, Nixa, Ozark, Republic, Waynesville.


Districts not yet released.