Republic Sports 05-15-2024

The Republic girls track team shared this year’s district championship with Nixa after winning it outright in 2023.

Reese Finley (foreground) takes the baton from sister Rilynn during the 4x400m relay at districts in Nixa.

The Republic soccer celebrates the game-winning goal by Adison Gibbs in overtime of the district quarterfinal against Ozark. (Photos by David Brazeal)

Republic shares district girls track championship; second in two years
The Republic girls track and field team won its second district championship in a row, tying Nixa atop the Class 5 District 6 standings. The Lady Tigers won seven events and got some key unexpected contributions to secure the title.
Avery Rossow won discus (35.13m), Alaina Norman won shot put (11.78m) and javelin (38.1m), and Jenna Belcher won triple jump (11.38m). Gracie Troester claimed the 1600m (5:04.29) and 3200m (11:13.41). Republic also won the 4x200m and 4x400m relays.
On the boys side, Zion Allen won high jump (1.95m) and long jump (6.75m) for Republic’s only two district titles. Daniel Fair placed 4th in pole vault, while James Rexroat and Kaleb Norman qualified for sectionals in javelin.
With senior Kristin Probst out due to illness, others stepped up for the Lady Tigers. Rossow, ranked third in discus, surprised herself and her competitors with a personal best.
“I was just going in there to try to do my best for my team, try to get some points on the board,” Rossow said. “I threw, and it felt so good. My jaw dropped, and I was like, there’s no way that just happened.”
Sami Watson grabbed sixth in javelin (33.43m) and Catherine Wilson placed seventh in the 3200m (12:43.38), adding crucial points by beating their pre-competition seeds.
The 4x800m relay team faced a challenge without Probst. Troester got the baton for the anchor leg in fifth place but refused to let sectional hopes disappear, securing third.
“Very scary race, but we did it. Kristen gets to come back next week and enjoy it with us,” Troester said.
Belcher, who qualified in four events for sectionals, called her day fun but exhausting.
“I’m super excited because I’m coming out strong with a big senior year,” she said. “A really good event today was our 4x2. All year, we’ve been back and forth with Ozark, and this meet we beat them. It’s super exciting, especially at districts, beating them.”
The 4x400m relay of Gracie Woods, Reese Finley, Rilynn Finley, Alaina Norman broke a school record in 4:02.81, beating the previous mark of 4:04.51.
Eight girls qualified for sectionals in 14 events, while four boys qualified in four events. Four boys qualified in five events.
Republic girls soccer tops Ozark in competitive district opener
Republic and Ozark traded leads all day during their district quarterfinal match on Saturday. But the last and most important lead belonged to Republic, who scored on a golden goal for a 4-3 overtime win on its home field.
Less than a week after beating Ozark 1-0 on the road, the two teams met again with their seasons on the line. Molly Blades put Republic ahead first, delivering a shot past Ozark goalkeeper Laykin Hoskins with 18:30 left in the first half. Ozark’s Annabelle Kruse answered before halftime, catching Republic keeper Awbree Berning off her line to tie it at 1-1 with 7:33 remaining.
Ozark’s momentum carried into the second half as Addison Shuler gave Ozark the lead for the first time, scoring on a sharp-angle goal that landed in the side netting and making the score 2-1. Ozark nearly extended the lead a few minutes later, hitting the crossbar, but Berning made a leaping save on the rebound header to keep Republic within one.
Kendra Phiri evened the score again by putting Republic back on the board. She scored from 30 yards, with her shot glancing off the fingertips of Hoskins to make it 2-2 with 18:39 left. Blades then set up Adison Gibbs to put Republic back in front 3-2 at the 15:02 mark.
But Ozark came back again, scoring off a corner kick to the back post with 10:41 remaining to tie it at 3-3 and force overtime.
Once the extra session started, it didn’t take long for Blades and Gibbs to connect again. Just 1:51 in, Blades assisted Gibbs for the golden goal, sending Republic into a frenzied celebration.
Brooklyn Claxton, who played the ball ahead on the winner, said the decisive play was a blur. “I don’t even remember what happened, I just started crying after,” she said. “I looked up and saw Molly and Gibbs, and I was like ‘I’m just going to send it over.’ It went in, and I started bawling and running at them.”
Although the tight contest had Blades nervous, she said the nine seniors on the squad fully intended to do what it would take to move on.
“I don’t think we ever had a mentality that we were going to lose,” Blades said.
“This game was very special for us because we didn’t want it to be our last,” fellow senior Ava Brown said. “We went into overtime doing everything we could to win and [shut] it down defensively.”
Republic improved to 17-6, inching closer to the program record of 18 wins set in 2013. With the victory, the Lady Tigers advanced to face top-seeded Nixa Wednesday in the district semifinals as they look to avenge a regular season loss.


Lawrence County Record

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