11/2/2019 – Sectional Meet




Sectional Meet (Benton)

This week the Foxes had to be up and going at the same time as last week, but the weather was so much better this week. The weather was just right, 41 degrees at race time. Almost all of the Foxes ran PRs on the day and improved immensely from earlier in the season and some even a ton from last week. The Foxes and Lady Foxes were going to have to work hard to be able to make a push to the state meet.

The Lady Foxes would be the first to take to the Benton Course which has become our second home over the past few years, in fact, Olivia Ragan has run the course 11 times in her career and we even missed a meet there last year. It was kind of cold in the shade at Benton but in the sun it wasn’t bad at all. The teams are required to be to the starting line 15 minutes before the race starts. The girls were looking to have a great race, run some PRs (Personal Records) and see if they could make it into the top ten teams. The girls have had an amazing season and are one of the best teams I have had the opportunity to coach. The girls are young, with five of the top seven sophomores or younger. We also have a two other sophomores on the team that didn’t have an opportunity to run at the Sectional meet. We will only be losing one senior this year, and while she is only one, she will be a tough one to replace. Olivia Ragan helps keep up the team morale on and off of the courses we run. Benton’s Mia McLain took off fast with Gabby Alongi, Breanna Chandler, Ansley Bailey, and Maddie Karcher also getting a great start. All of the other Foxes girls also got a great start and worked up into the pack. Maddie Karcher ended up finishing in 9th place overall which guaranteed her a chance to run at state next week in Peoria. Maddie was the second individual qualifier out of the seven who moved on. Maddie will have a chance to improve upon her performance next week. Ashlee Wellen and Caroline Lueke also quickly made her way to the front of the Foxes and settled in around 42nd place in the 148runners. Ashlee and Caroline worked hard and ended up putting in an extremely solid time of 20:07 for Ashlee and 20:14.6 for Caroline. They ended up finishing the race in 44th and 49th place overall. Olivia Ragan was the next up for the Foxes finishing 4th on the team and in 106th place overall. Right behind Olivia was Dacey Webb in 111th and Kylee Vaughan in 117th place. Freshman Jordan Tinsley put in a great effort finishing in 137th place. The Lady Foxes ended up in 10th place as a team out of 20 full teams. This is one of the Foxes’ best sectional finishes since they changed the girl’s race distance to 3 miles. The future is looking bright for the Lady Foxes and I’m extremely proud of the way they competed this entire year.

Coming into the Sectionals the Foxes knew that they were one of five or six teams that had a potential shot at the fifth spot at the meet, which was the last advancing spot for state. It was pretty much a given that Freeburg, Father McGivney, Christ Our Rock and Benton were going to be in the top four spots, but it was up in the air for the fifth spot, the Foxes, DuQuoin, Steeleville, Trenton and Pinckneyville all had the opportunity to fill that spot. This meet the Foxes took off with a fire in their eyes and their feet. The Foxes took off fast and Theron Smith led the Foxes into the short Benton Cross Country course (2.74 to 2.8 miles). At the mile mark, the Foxes were looking good and the spacing between the Foxes #1 and #5 runner was pretty tight. Adam Wellen was leading the pack throughout the mile mark. The second mile of the Benton course is the only real tough part of the course and is an easy place to slow down during. The majority of the racers do just that, but the racers that excel in the race start picking it up then. Coming out of the woods Adam Wellen and Theron Smith were continually picking it up. Benton’s Reece Johnson and Carmi’s Ty Barbre were crushing the course and finished a mere .5 seconds apart with Reece dropping a time of 14:39.2 and Ty with a time of 14:29.7. The Foxes were right in the race and at the half-mile to go in the race, it was evident that it was going to be an extremely close race for the five qualifying spots. As it came down to the end of the race, Benton and Christ Our Rock had tied for the number one spot with a score of 96 points. Christ Our Rock ended up taking the Sectional Championship due to their 6th runner’s position. The Foxes finished with Adam Wellen in 23rd place, Theron Smith 25th place overall, freshman phenom Braydon Middendorf taking the 59th spot, Trace Butler taking the 71st spot, and Evan Shelton in 80th place overall. The Foxes sixth runner for the day was Brady Thrane who finished in 92nd and Will Jones who finished in 96th place out of the 158 runners. The Foxes ended up with a team score of 228 points, which was good enough to give them 10th place out of the 21 teams. The Foxes had a great year and had the fourth-best sectional finish in the school since 2004. Unfortunately, the Foxes did not qualify anyone for the State Meet, Adam Wellen missed qualifying by a mere 4 seconds. I’m excited to see what next season will hold but we will definitely miss our 7 boy seniors next year.

I need to have a couple of people really commit to making running a lifestyle and working on being a front runner for the Foxes boys and girls. We definitely have the talent available but just need to hone the skills to be competitive at the state level. I’m constantly working on improving my skills as a coach and a motivator and hope to be able to lead both teams to an even more successful season next year.

As I look back at the season from a team perspective, I have to say I am extremely hopeful for the future of Foxes Cross Country. The Boy’s team will be losing seven seniors, and the Lady Foxes will be losing one senior to graduation. The Foxes and Lady Foxes will truly miss Olivia Ragan, Adam Wellen, Theron Smith, Evan Shelton, Will Jones, Dylan Halley, Austin Stanley, and Seth Davenport. The team will hopefully return the other 22 runners and also add a few other quality runners as an incoming freshman or first-time sophomore, junior or senior runners.

Boys Team Results

  1. Christ Our Rock Lutheran                96
  2. Benton 96
  3. Freeburg 113
  4. Father McGivney                              138
  5. Steeleville                                            156
  6. Roxana                                                 175
  7. Trenton                                                191
  8. Breese Mater Dei 216
  9. DuQuoin 217
  10. Hamilton County                              228
  11. Pinckneyville                                   283
  12. Vienna                                                  283
  13. Belleville (Althoff Catholic) 335
  14. Carterville                               358
  15. Sparta                                                  365
  16. Fairfield                                   450
  17. Marion (Crab Orchard)                   457
  18. Okawville                                           458
  19. Carrier Mills (Stone Fort)                 518
  20. Norris City (NCOE)                           534
  21. Junction (Gallatin County) 556
  22. 14 Teams                                            NTS

Girls Team Results

  1. Benton 71
  2. DuQuoin                                             97
  3. Freeburg                                             98
  4. Roxana 98
  5. Breese (Mater Dei) 157
  6. Pinckneyville 186                                   
  7. Breese (Central)                               243
  8. Belleville (Althoff Catholic)           252
  9. Anna Jonesboro                               255
  10. Hamilton County                             286
  11. Sparta 296
  12. Nashville 309
  13. Carterville                                         341
  14. Okawville 345
  15. Red Bud                                             381
  16. Massac County (Metropolis)         385
  17. Steeleville                                         473
  18. Golconda (Pope County)               522
  19. Harrisburg                                       551
  20. Galatia                                  556
  21. 14 Teams                                        NTS