By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s boys cross country team is quickly making a name for itself and is proving to be a force to be reckoned with not only now but also well into the future. The Warriors are riding a wave as of late fueled by a youth movement with three freshmen consistently scoring for the black and gold, headlined by freshman Josiah Hortin. He pushed the pace the entire race breaking the 17-minute mark on a three mile course for the first time in his young career this past Saturday at the Shelbyville Trails invite leading Rosenbaum’s crew to a third place finish overall at the 6-team event.
Hortin crossed the finish line in a personal best 16 minutes and 49 seconds. Classmate Jackson Barrett resided in the two-hole for the black and gold for the first time wearing the Warrior colors. He set a personal record as well blasting past the 18 minute plateau by 18 seconds finishing in 17:42 ending up in 11th place. “Really excited to see Josiah and Jackson break the 17 and 18 minute barriers so early in the season,” stated the coach. “This was a nice little conference preview, and it tells us what needs to happen between now and then for our boys to win it this year.”
Junior Riley Nolan was the third Warrior to score taking 19th with a PR of 18:20. Fellow third year Logan Wallace followed him across the line in 20th clocking in at 18:28 while yet another ninth grader PR’d rounding out the scoring for Tuscola with a 25th place finish posting an 18:49. Wallace beat two host Rams to the line knotting the team scores at 73 for the two Central Illinois Conference. The tie breaker for second fell to the first alternate and senior newcomer Aiden Beachy nearly pulled out the win delivering a personal best time of 18:59 breaking 19minutes for the first time to take 28th out over 40 runners. Sophomore Mason Veach also PR’d serving as the second alternate eclipsing the three miles in 19:39.
“We know where we are heading into the Moultrie-Douglas meet this week and the CIC in a week or so,” the coach said. “Logan didn’t have his best race, he’s usually out or near the front for us, a better day in the future could change the scoring, but our guys are feeding off each other, don’t take anything away from the others, they all PR’d today.”
First year senior Laney Cummings rubbed shoulders with the leaders most of the race finishing in eighth overall with a personal best 21:34 to lead the way for the Warriors. Fellow senior Brynn Tabeling was a few spots back in 11th with a 22:05 while Reggan Smith, Hannah Hornaday and Skyler Wilkins rounded out the scoring leading the Warriors to a third place finish in the five team meet. Kyla Gough and Kenzi Heckler toured the hills of Shelbyville as the alternates.
“Laney was outstanding today, Shelbyville has a very fast girls squad, but she put herself in position to run well early, and then just carried it all the way through,” commented the coach. “Her and Brynn have a real chance of going one, two, this weekend at the MODO meet, flip a coin as to who finishes where, and that should excite them.”
The Hausmann siblings were tops in the open race for Tuscola. First year runner and sophomore Mia Hausmann was out front for the girls in her first race of her career taking second with a PR of 28:49. Her brother Clayton took ninth in the boy’s open also posting a PR with a 20:57 edging Ben Hornaday at the line by a nose in a virtual dead heat.