11/07/15 – STATE (Peoria)
On a beautiful day for a cross country meet, over 400+ Cross Country athletes assembled at Detweiller Park in Peoria, IL for the Class A Cross Country State Championship. There were also two other classes of races 2A and 3A that day, which would also bring in 400+ runners plus for each class. There were also tons of fans who showed up to this amazing event. The Foxes qualified two athletes after competing at the Sectionals on October 31st. The two Foxes who competed at the State Cross Country meet were Tyler Byars and Leslie Drone.
Leslie Drone was up first for a 9:00 a.m. start time. As Leslie Drone took off to start the race she was all alone in the middle of the field. Leslie had had a lot of issues breathing over the few days preceding the state meet. She ran her first mile in about 6:20, but after that her breathing or lack there of got the best of her. As you may guess, breathing plays a very important part of cross country running. Leslie had a few times where she had to walk because of that. She still ran better than over 60 of the fastest girls in the state of Illinois. She finished in 155th place with a time of 21:02. If she would have been healthy and ran her best race of the season, Leslie would have had a good chance at finishing in the top 25 to 30 places. Leslie has had a tough season, but she has done really well and persevered through it. Leslie had an amazing sectional race and ended her cross country career for the Foxes as the best Lady Foxes Cross Country runner who has ever came through the school. In her career she has been a state qualifier 3 times and was an All-State (top 25) team finisher during her Junior year with a 14th place finish. She was also the Southern Illinoisan runner of the year last year. Leslie will be missed immensely in the upcoming year, but she has been a great influence on all the current Foxes teams. We would like to wish her good luck in track this year and also in her future college career.
Up next was Tyler Byars. Tyler has worked insanely hard this year and was looking towards having his best race of the season at the State Meet in Peoria. Tyler’s goal was to go out and run a 16:20 for the 3 mile course. Tyler took off fast and quickly worked up into the top 100 runners. Tyler knew he would have a good race if he could stay up with Benton’s number one runner Gavin Hartley. He stayed close to him for a mile of the race, but the up and down hills of the course and the number of athletes in the race caused Tyler to run a little slower than expected, finishing with a 16:55 and a 124th place finish out of 208 runners. Tyler had a lot of great races throughout the 2015 Season, he finished first in a lot of races including the Black Diamond Conference and also the Regional Race. Tyler has been the best runner to come through McLeansboro in the past few years and he will be greatly missed in the upcoming years. Tyler is looking forward to having a great track season and hopefully advancing back to the state track meet in May.
This season has been great and I hate to see it come to an end. The future is bright for the Foxes and we will look towards a lot of success in the future years. Sport Awards will be next Monday, November 16th.