Benton Invitational (Benton Park) – 10/18/2016
10/18/16 – Benton Invitational
The Foxes hot off of their boys win at the Black Diamond Conference headed into Benton knowing it was going to be a tough meet. The Invitational would be similar to what will see at the Sectional, as far as team competition and as far as number of participants goes.
The first race of the day was the Varsity Boy’s race, the boys coming into the race knew that their main competition would be Olney, Nashville, Herrin and Benton. The Foxes took off fast and quickly made it up the first large hill at the Benton Park. Hunter Braden quickly moved up into the top ten and worked on catching as many of the runners as possible. He moved all the way up to the 8th spot, finishing just behind Herrin’s #2 runner. The rest of the Fox team worked up towards the front of the pack as well with Logan Hunt putting in another superb effort and even using some of his baseball sliding skills, during a second mile trip and fall, he finished 12th overall. Matt Rubenacker finished in 14th place with Clay Ragan 16th and Alex Soltanipanah in 20th, giving the Foxes a score of 70. The 70 points the Foxes scored were low enough to give the Foxes a 1st place finish behind in front of 2nd place Benton, 3rd place Herrin and 4th place Nashville. The Foxes ended up finishing 22 points ahead of Benton and Herrin.
The second race of the day for the Foxes was the varsity women’s race. Raegan Halley seemed slightly nervous about the competition and the nagging second mile which has plagued her over the past two meets. The Foxes knew they would have a massive amount of great competition from Chester, Nashville, DuQuoin and Pinckneyville. Raegan worked up nicely in the first mile of the race turning in a time of around 6:30 for the first mile, but her second mile once again proved to be a tough one, reaching into the eight minute level, but in the end she persisted and improved her time from the previous Benton race, she finished in 25th place. Jasmine Coomes kept improving and finished only 30 seconds behind Raegan Halley finishing in 30th place. Olivia Ragan who was able to breathe a lot better improved her time to finish in 49th place. Kaylee who last year had to pull out of the race due to an injury had a much better time this year and finished only eight seconds behind Olivia Ragan finishing in 52nd place. Jade Lemmons also kept improving finishing in 24:14 with a 62nd place finish. Jayda Johnson finished in 89th. The girls have been really turning up the heat lately and are looking at placing in the top two teams at the Regionals on Saturday.
The Boys Open Race was the last race of the day. Benton got rid of the Fresh Soph race this year and also got rid of team trophies. Clayton took off to run the race and was trying to run a time fast enough to move him into the top 7 of the Foxes before Regionals and Sectionals. Clayton took off and ran the first mile of the race in 6 minutes and 30 seconds. He took off and gave his all to get into position for a fast race. Clayton worked and kept at it but ultimately ended up running out of gas. He still finished with a good time, 20:14, but most of all he showed a lot of guts giving all the effort he did in the race. Clayton finished shortly behind Raegan Irwin (19:55) and Colin Meade (20:13). The three of them finished in the top ten for the open race. Clancy Bond ended up running a 20:40 for the fourth spot for the Foxes in the open. Dylan Halley finished in 23:04 and Will Jones finished with a time of 24:30. The young Foxes are looking bright, if these young Foxes stick with it over the next few years we will have quite a few years of great cross country runners to come. Blake Childers ran what was most likely his last race of his career turning in a second best time of the season. If Blake would have started running earlier in his high school days he would most likely be right up at the top of the Foxes runners. Blake will be missed next year on the team. Abby Reyling put in a superb effort finishing with her best time of the year in 26:27 finishing in the top ten in the open. Abby has made leaps and bounds this year and she continues to give a lot of effort during each race.
Both teams have been performing well and I could not be more proud of them. The next meet for the Foxes and Lady Foxes will be on Saturday at the West Frankfort Park in West Frankfort IL. We hope you will have a chance to come out and support our teams!