10/29/2016 – Sectionals

Class A Sectional (Edwardsville) – 10/29/2016





10/29/2016 – Sectionals (Edwardsville)

The Foxes had to get up early and be ready to leave by 6:45 a.m. The weather looked to be nice and warm, which wasn’t really what the Foxes were hoping for. The Foxes have been a rough weather running team instead of a fair weather running team this year, with their best races coming during rainy weather. It was going to be another tough meet, but both teams knew what needed to be done to have a chance to advance.

The Lady Foxes would be the first to take to the SIU–Edwardsville Collegiate women’s 5k Cross Country course. As the race was getting ready to start the temperature was still rising which was not what Kaylee Chapman was hoping for. Kaylee’s breathing is much better when the weather is cool, which was evident last week at West Frankfort. The teams were required to be to the starting line at 15 minutes before the race started. As they were waiting to start the race it was apparent that everyone was nervous, especially Raegan Halley. Halley has had issues with not feeling great during the morning races and usually ends up puking at some point during the race. Raegan had tried a few different things before this race though and it helped as she didn’t have any issues with puking during this race. Benton’s Mia McLain took off and blew all of the competition out of the water, she is the daughter of Benton’s Head Coach Brent McLain who won many races in his tenure as a high school athlete. The Foxes would like to wish her good luck at state in Peoria next weekend. Back to the Foxes, at the start of the race the Foxes took off fast but not too fast to hurt them when they made it to the hills towards the end of mile one and most of mile two and the finish. Raegan Halley quickly made her way to the front of the Foxes and settled in around 30th place in the approximately 170 runners. Raegan continued to “fight” her way through the race including taking an elbow from another running to finish with a time of 22:47.40 in 45th place overall (38th after the individuals not on a team were taken out). Jasmine Coomes finished in 23:32.74 in 60th place over all (51st AITO) and Olivia Ragan was 72nd overall in 24:18.07 (63rd AITO). Kaylee Chapman stuck in 4th place for the Foxes with a 100th place finish (86th AITO) with a time of 25:50.91. Kaylee as refrenced to earlier did not enjoy the unseasonably nice weather, due to her asthma. Jade Lemmons finished out her season with a 27:01.88 in 114th place (100th AITO). The top five Lady Foxes finished with a combined score of 338 placing them in 15th place out of the tough 19 teams. Abby Reyling took the 6th place spot for the Foxes and Jayda Johnson took the Foxes 7th place. The Foxes unfortunately didn’t have anyone from the girls advance to the State Meet in Peoria, but I have a feeling we will see great things from these girls next year.

Coming into the Sectionals the Foxes were looked at being one of the top teams in the sectional with many places ranking them as the 3rd place team. The Foxes were eager to prove that last weeks loss to Benton was merely a fluke. The Foxes knew that they were one of the teams on the bubble along with Benton, Breese, Steeleville, Roxana and Nashville. The Foxes took off and Hunter Braden led the Foxes into the full length tough 5k course. The Foxes order for the half mile mark was Hunter, Hunt, Soltanipanah, Rubenacker, Ragan, Butler and Shelton. At the mile and 1/2 mark it was evident that the Foxes were going to have to turn it up to be in contention of the 5th place team, many of the teams had their third runner pass through before the Foxes first runner. The Foxes have a great team but are lacking a true front runner who can place in the top ten in a large race like this, fortunately though, the Foxes have 5 runners who are all within 50 seconds of each other and they might be able to turn one or two of them into front runners before next season maybe even four or five of them.  The Foxes ended up finishing the race in the same order as they started with Hunter Braden finishing in 18:18.78 for 32nd place (26th AITO), with Logan Hunt finishing less than 1 second behind in a time of 18:19.59 in 33rd place (27th AITO). Alex Soltanipanah turned in another spectacular race for the last race of his high school cross country career finishing in a time of 18:44.46 in 46th place (39th AITO). Alex has really came on strong in the last couple races, I hope he sees how much potential ability he has and puts it to use. Matt Rubenacker finished slightly behind in a time of 18:49.24 in 50th place (42nd AITO) and Clay Ragan finished in 19:00.08 with a 58th place finish (50th AITO). This gave the Foxes a score of 184 which put them 24 points behind 5th place Roxana and placed them behind 6th place Benton. The Foxes and Benton both had good chances to advance to state but both came up short, luckily both teams are young and will have a chance to compete for it again next year. Trenton Butler finished in 79th with a time of 19:34.26 (64th AITO) and Evan Shelton finished in 20:47.20 for 118th place (102nd AITO). Unfortunately the Foxes did not qualify anyone for the State Meet, but they are definitely looking forward to a great season next year.

I would have never thought that losing Leslie Drone and Tyler Byars would have somehow given me two better teams, but then I realized it has a lot to do with all that those two left behind that made the teams successful. They provided the teams with confidence, work ethic and most importantly the winning spirit.

As I look back at the season from a team perspective, I have to say I am extremely hopefully for the future of Foxes Cross Country. The Boy’s team will be losing only two seniors, and the Lady Foxes will not be losing anyone to graduation.