By Tony Hooker
Alexa Howard finished in first place, and Lydia Howard backed her twin with a second place finish as Villa Grove FFA won the Section 17 Forestry title on September 16. Regan Blanton finished sixth, and Hailey Stutz came in ninth for VGHS.
Kyleigh Block celebrated Golf Senior night by firing a 58 to finish in a second place tie with teammate Logan Lillard in the final home golf match of the season on September 17. Maci Clodfelder finished a stroke back at 59, Addisyn Wilson fired a 62, and Ava Vollmer and Alison Pangburn each shot 65. Zoey Thompson-Burton shot a 70 for the Blue Devils, who will travel to Kaskaskia CC for a meet versus Arcola on September 22.
VGH fired a season low 189 as a team, finishing just behind SJO (185) in their final home match of 2020. Celebrating senior night, Zach Buesing took medalist honors with a 41, edging out the Spartans’ Ty Pence, who shot a 42. Jake Gilles shot his best round of the season, firing a 42 to back his teammate. Nick Wilson also had a season best 49, and Liam Barr and Jalen Southard shot 57’s to round out the Blue Devil score card. Brady Clodfelder fired a 53, Jesse Bessent had a 61, and Noah Davison shot 65 in non-team scoring rounds.
Girls’ Cross Country
Emma Buesing set a personal record, finished fourth with a time of 22:59 to take 4th place at the inaugural Douglas County Cross Country Meet in Tuscola on September 19. Kyleigh Price also PR’ed, finishing 10th in 24:48, Madison Logan continued the theme, finishing 11th with a PR time of 24:52, and Hailey Stutz finished 12th in 26:49.
Boys’ Cross Country
Freshman Zach Ruwe continued his strong Plebe campaign, making a strong move in the last quarter mile to move past Tuscola’s Jackson Barrett and take second place in the meet behind Tuscola phenom Josiah Hortin with a season best time of 17:25. Daniel Olson continued his steady improvement, setting a personal record for the 5th consecutive meet with a time of 19:13 to place 14th. Rowan Denmark-Collins matched him almost stride for stride, placing 15th in 19:18, Ethan Meneely set a PR with a 19:38 mark to take 16th, Lukas Carey finished 17th in 19:56, Aidan Ashbrook ran 20th in 20:18 and Logan Chapman took 34th with a time of 23:40. All three of these times were PR’s for the VGH athletes. Austin Zoch rounded out the VGH effort, finishing 38th in 27:40.
Coach Jim Kestner was understandably pleased with his team’s day. “It’s our best meet of the year, as 9 of our runners posted PRs! Two VGH girls and one boy scored medals, which were awarded to the first 10 finishers in each race,” Kestner gushed. The coach was especially pleased with how Ruwe responded to competition after running several flighted races without many runners to challenge him. “Zach’s finish was a terrific reward for persevering through several recent races where he led the pack alone with no one to push him,” the coach stated.
VGJH Cross Country
Running a meet on their home course for the first time in several years, the Blue Devils put up a solid showing vs. Oakland, Okaw Valley and Philo St. Thomas.
Eva Piercy finished fourth on the two mile out and back course with a time of 15:35. Lyndsay Zoch ran sixth in 16:09, and Lilly-Lynn Davis finished ninth in 17:11.
Lukas Shadwick finished second in 11:24, Kurt Zimmerman ran third in 11:37 and Jackson Gilles carded a sixth place finish in 12:41 for the Blue Devils. Chase White ran 10th, Nolan Shadwick came in 12th, Tucker McGarigle raced to a 1th place finish, Logan Hauersperger came in 19th, Jacob Golightly ran 20th, Madddox Piercy finished 21st, Kendrick Roy ran 22nd, Blake Davis came in 26th, Carson Sheppard ended up in 27th place, Landyn Gaston ran 28th, Max Wilson was 29th, and Harry Osborne place 30th for the Blue Devils, who were able to race their entire squad for the first time this season due to Covid 19 restrictions. Overall, Coach Kestner was pleased with the results. “It was a special day, as we celebrated our five 8th graders and for the only time this season allowed everyone to race,” Kestner said. It was eighth grade night for the Blue and Gold, and eighth graders Blake Davis, Lukas Shadwick,. Carson Sheppard, Chase White, and Kurt Zimmerman were recognized for their accomplishments.