(KMAland) -- One of KMAland’s most dominant cross country teams will enter the KMA Sports Hall of Fame this year.
The 1989 Shenandoah-Essex boys cross country team was dominant locally, regionally and state-wide on their way to capturing the school’s fourth and second straight state championship.
“This group had a do-it attitude,” KMA Sports Hall of Famer and Coach Ray Graves told KMA Sports. “Whatever was going to be the challenge, they were going to get up to it.”
The Mustangs were absolutely loaded with talent and had the numbers to potentially put two teams together and compete in most meets.
For example, while the varsity team had seven of the top nine finishers at the Hawkeye Ten Conference meet, the junior varsity had the top six and nine of the top 10 in the JV meet. That season’s Mustangs scored 17 points to win the conference title.
“This was the second year for the Shen-Essex co-op program,” Graves said. “It was also the second year where the state changed to running seven and counting five. That was made for this team.”
The Mustangs graduated just one runner from their 1988 champion, and that meant they were the heavy favorite to do so again.
“It was a good start,” Graves added. “We were not undefeated (that year). We ran in an invitational meet in Council Bluffs, and Bellevue East won the meet by seven points. They were eventually the Metro champion for that particular year.”
Shenandoah-Essex didn’t lose the rest of the season and put down another 17-point score at districts, placing all seven of their runners in the top nine in that meet as well.
At the state meet, they scored four in the top nine and finished with 51 points to easily snatch the repeat championship. Members of the team were Jason Armstrong, Andy Campbell, Brian Hornbuckle, Patrick McDermott, Micky Sederburg, Bobby Taylor and Chris Willeman.
Listen to the complete interview with Coach Graves below.
KMA Sports will honor the Shenandoah-Essex state champion from 1989 at this year’s Shenandoah XC Invitational.
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