10/27/2018 – Sectionals

Class A Sectional (Benton) – 10/27/2018






Sectionals (Benton)

The Foxes didn’t have to be up early this year, they only had to be up and ready to leave by 8:00. This was much better than the previous years of being up and gone by 6:45. Last years weather was too cold but this year the weather was just right, 50 degrees at race time. The Foxes ran well, but some of them looked a little flat. This could be due to the fact that since it rained all day Friday and we really didn’t get much of a workout in. The day before a race is never much of a workout as it comes down to post season, but usually a little bit of speed helps the legs feel good the next day.

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 Raegan Halley has ran the meet 11 times in her career and we even missed a meet there this year. As the race was getting ready to start, the sun showed up and made the day amazing. The teams are required to be to the starting line 20 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 the top three on the team being Freshmen. Benton’s Mia McLain, took off fast with 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 6th place overall which guaranteed her a chance to run at state next week in Peoria. Maddie told me that she kept trying to go faster but her legs wouldn’t take her there. Maddie will have a chance to improve upon that performance next week. Caroline Lueke also quickly made her way to the front of the Foxes and settled in around 40th place in the 150 runners. Caroline worked hard and ended up putting in an extremely solid time of 20:12, which would have been in many years the number one spot for the Foxes. She ended up finishing the race in 41st place. Shortly behind her was Senior Raegan Halley, who from what I have been told, had a spectacular finish and definitely ended up leaving it all on the course, minus a lot that she left on her body. Raegan has had issues of throwing up during the last two years, but had been free of this for the last four races. This race Raegan dug down deep and ran one of her fastest times ever on the Benton course. It was a heck of a way to end her Senior year of Cross Country. Raegan has been a tremendous leader over the years and has been an extraordinary leader this year helping lead a team mostly full of first timers through the season. Raegan will definitely be missed next year. She finished with a time of 21:09.4 for the 64th spot overall. Just slightly behind Raegan was Freshman Ashlee Wellen. Ashlee finished in 21:31 for the 76th spot. Olivia Ragan was the next up for the Foxes finishing 5th on the team and in 86th place overall. Jocelyn Moles ran hard and was moving up in the pack, but back in the woods she twisted her ankle and was unable to complete the race. Jocelyn has steadily improved over the course of the season and even though the ending wasn’t what we wanted or expected, she will have many more good days ahead of her in Cross Country. Abby Reyling was not feeling well and had a extremely sore throat but decided to come out and compete and finished with a respectable time of 28:12 for the sixth spot on the Foxes team. The Lady Foxes ended up in 11th place as a team out of 21 full teams. This is one of the Foxes best sectional finishes since they changed the girls 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. The Lady Foxes were the Black Diamond Champions this year and also the Regional Champions!

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, Steeleville and Benton were going to be in the top four spots, but it was up in the air for the fifth spot, the Foxes or Roxana were expected to fill that spot with a slight chance of DuQuoin or Pinckneyville picking it up. Last week at the Regional meet, the Foxes took off at a snails pace, but this week they took of with 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). The Foxes Trace Butler took a fall early in the race and also had an athlete fall on top of him, which definitely stunted his ability to run his race the way he wanted. He got back up and finished the race in 7th place for the Foxes with a decent time. At the mile mark, the Foxes were looking good and the spacing between the Foxes #1 and #5 runner was pretty tight. Theron Smith was leading the pack throughout the mile mark. The second mile of the Benton course is the only really 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 Theron Smith was continually picking it up, but a lot of the Foxes runners had fell back a little bit. This was going to make it hard for the Foxes to advance as a team. Roxana’s #1 runner was the number one runner for the race crushing the course in a mere 14:52 and distancing the second place runner by over 25 seconds. Roxana also had a superb performance from their fifth runner. 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 extremely close, not only with Roxana but also surprisingly with Benton. Benton started off the season on fire, but as the season drew to a close they started kind of falling apart. The Foxes on the other hand were improving at every race and were on a six meet win streak, including the Black Diamond Conference Championship and the Regional Championship. The Foxes finished with Theron Smith 24th place overall, Hunter Braden in 45th place, Kaden Richards in 48th place, Adam Wellen in 52nd, and Evan Shelton in 60th place overall. The Foxes sixth runner for the day was Colin Meade who finished in 71st and Trace Butler finished in 115th place. The Foxes ended up with a team score of 185 points, getting narrowly beat by 10 points by Benton and 11 points by Roxana. The Foxes loss was by a total of 8 seconds! Cross Country is all about every point, every second and every place. The Foxes had a phenomenal year and had the third best sectional finish in the school since 1994. Unfortunately the Foxes did not qualify anyone for the State Meet, but they are definitely looking forward to a great season next year.

I need to have a couple 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 in 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 hopefully for the future of Foxes Cross Country. The Boy’s team will be losing four seniors, and the Lady Foxes will be losing two seniors to graduation. The Foxes and Lady Foxes will truly miss Raegan Halley, Leah Ragan, Hunter Braden, Colin Meade, Jack Aydt and Raegan Irwin. The team will hopefully return the other 25 runners and also add a few other quality runners as incoming freshman or first time sophomore, junior or senior runners.

Boys Team Results

  1. Freeburg                                               68
  2. Father McGivney                                80
  3. Steeleville                                             95
  4. Roxana                                                 174
  5. Benton                                                 175
  6. Hamilton County                              185
  7. Nashville                                            204
  8. Pinckneyville                                     218
  9. DuQuoin                                             244
  10. Marissa                                               285
  11. Trenton (Wesclin)                            312
  12. Althoff Catholic                                 315
  13. Vienna                                                 322
  14. Breese (Central)                                379
  15. Sparta                                                  409
  16. Massac County                                  454
  17. Pope County                                      462
  18. Fairfield                                              477
  19. West Frankfort                                 507
  20. Carrier Mills                                      514
  21. 12 Teams                                           NTS

Girls Team Results

  1. DuQuoin                                             63
  2. Freeburg                                             91
  3. Pinckneyville                                   109
  4. Roxana                                              169
  5. Okawville                                           171
  6. Nashville                                            173
  7. Benton                                                181
  8. Carterville                                          193
  9. Althoff-Catholic                                205
  10. Anna Jonesboro                                210
  11. Hamilton County                              237
  12. Breese (Central)                                334
  13. Carmi                                                   338
  14. Red Bud                                               376
  15. New Athens                                         383
  16. Fairfield                                               429
  17. Goreville                                              456
  18. Steeleville                                            462
  19. West Frankfort                                   507
  20. Golconda                                             610
  21. Harrisburg                                          631
  22. 12 Teams                                             NTS