This trip to State Meet at Detweiler was the fourth trip I have made out of the six years I have been the head coach of the cross country team. The trip is a long four-hour trip but it is really an easy drive. I had hoped that this year we would be able to finally take a team to the meet, but unfortunately, we will have to wait for next year. Sophomore Maddie Karcher was the only Foxes qualifier again this year, I am super proud of how great she has done.
The state meet takes place at Detweiller Park in Peoria Illinois. It is a beautiful, mostly flat and fast course. The Lady Foxes’ best finish came in 2014 by Leslie Drone who finished 14th with a time of 18:10. At the State Meet, the top twenty-five finishers are classified as All-State. Maddie Karcher will make that a reality over the next few years.
The day before the race, we drove up and ran the course and then stayed at America’s Best Value Inn in Morton. Maddie Karcher and Caroline Lueke rode up to Peoria with me and Stacey Webb brought up Dacey, Olivia, and Ashlee to cheer on Maddie. The night before the race we ate at Cracker Barrel and stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up ice cream for the pie we bought at Cracker Barrel. The weather forecast for the race was 35 degrees at race time. This is a great temperature for racing and similar weather to what we had last year.
On the morning of the race, we woke up and left the hotel by 7:10 a.m. and arrived at about 7:30. On the way to the course, I remarked to Maddie that there was something much different than last year going on. On the trip to the course, the sun was already shining bright, whereas last year the sun was down. This, of course, was due to the fact that state this year was after the time change and last year it was before the time change. When we arrived Maddie was ready to race and filled with excitement, Maddie went through the normal pre-race strategy. She arrived at the start in Box number 26, which is a great box and is a straight shot down to the first turn. An extended opening ceremony took place since this was the 50th anniversary of having the state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Shortly before the race started, Maddie was surprised by her boyfriend Brady Thrane who came up to surprise her. Brady rode up to the meet with Wyatt Brown and Steve Lapington. Maddie had a lot of people supporting her at the race.
As the race started the 215 athletes took off like a bolt and Maddie quickly made it into a great position. Maddie kept running hard and crossed the first-mile mark at 5:55. Maddie’s second mile slowed a little bit as she crossed the two-mile mark at 12:37. She finished with the last mile about the same as the second mile. Maddie ended up finishing the race in 19:21 in 97th place overall. She worked hard all season long and has a ton to be happy for. Maddie was a little disappointed with her performance but ended up being tied place wise with Hillary Phillips and Kelci Thomas for the 7th best finish in Lady Foxes Cross Country history.
Maddie had an amazing year and she will undoubtedly work hard over the next few years to get back and improve her abilities at the State Meet. One minute and eighteen seconds is all that separated Maddie from the All-State rankings.
I stuck around after Maddie’s race and watched some amazing performances with two girls in different classes running 16:04 and 16:05, and Craig Virgin’s 47-year-old record was broke by 1 second in the men’s 3a race with a time of 13:49.1. It was an amazing day of racing at the state meet.
TRAINING FOR NEXT YEAR, STARTS TODAY!!