By Lenny Sementi
Cross country coaches Lacey Diaz and Adam Crutchley’s group took a big step last week at the Cow Chip Classic in Chrisman and grew even more at the Shelbyville Invite last Saturday. The boys built on their success at Chrisman that earned them a state ranking and will most likely climb even higher up the rankings after collecting some hardware in the 14 team event. It was a youth movement that led the black and gold boys and girls teams through the forest surrounding Lake Shelbyville on the General Dacey Trail three mile course with three sophomore boys and two freshman girls showing the way.
Super soph Josiah Hortin not only was the Warriors top runner, he won the whole darn thing out legging 97 runners from all over central Illinois. Hortin crossed the line in 16 minutes and 27 seconds collecting first place honors. Classmate Jackson Barrett wasn’t far behind, capturing a bronze taking third overall with a 16:43. Another second year runner Will Foltz was the third to finish for Tuscola taking 15th overall with a personal best 18:15 on the hilly course. Riley Nolan was right on his heels taking 16th covering the three miles in 18:47. Bryce Graves was the final scorer for the Warriors circling the course in 19:18. Andrew Spillman and John Hegarty were alternates while Thomas Brown, Brady Urban and Jacob Middleton to the tour of the Moultrie County hillside as individual entries.
“We were missing Logan Wallace and Mason Veach so I really stressed that everyone needed to help make up those points instead of just one person,” stated Coach Diaz. “Josiah and Jackson ran great getting and Riley Nolan really stepped up his game and ran with a faster pack for the entire race. He showed up for this team when we needed him the most and I couldn’t be happier.”
The girls wound in and out of the woods en-route to a fourth place finish led by a pair of newcomers to the program. Freshman Lia Patterson and Riley Vanausdoll. Both turned in personal records ending their day in the top ten helping the Lady Warriors edge a good Effingham St Anthony squad by a few points for the top three performance. Patterson broke the tape in 20:17 with Vanausdoll holding off two runners at the finish to take seventh with a 20:58.
Skylar Wilkins held down Tuscola’s three spot with a 25:09. Makenzie Hershberger and Reggan Smith rounded out the scoring. Lauren Woods wasn’t far behind serving as the alternate.
“Lia Patterson PR’d and ran phenomenal and placed fifth overall and Rylie was right to set her PR,” Diaz commented. “The girls team placed fourth overall and all ran exceptionally well.”
Crutchley was extremely happy as well. “Rylie and Lia both broke 21 minutes for the first time and are on their way to a successful career,” he stated. “And the boys won a competitive meet without two of their top six runners, big things are coming for both teams.”