By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s now 15th ranked cross country team is hitting full stride as the final quarter of the season is at hand and the post season approaches. Josiah Hortin led a Warrior boys team that tallied six medals on the day taking fifth overall as a team in a meet that boasted seven ranked teams. The Warriors averaged under 17 minutes as a team on the three mile road course edging out fellow CIC foes and ranked teams Shelbyville and Decatur St Teresa landing behind four teams ranked in the top ten including the states second and fourth best to this point in the season.
Hortin medaled, ending his day in sixth overall out of 156 boys representing over 30 schools from Central Illinois. He broke the tape in a personal best 15:44 and was the top finishing sophomore, beating two SJO runners in the final 200-yards in a fast pace race that saw Paxton’s Ryder James turn in a 14:21 to win the event.
Jackson Barrett was the next to cross the line for coach Lacey Diaz. Barrett collected hardware entering the chute in eighth overall setting a personal record with a 16:12. Logan Wallace ended his day with a medal and a top fifty finish clocking in at 17:07 capturing 44th overall. Riley Nolan and Will Foltz were the final two scorers for coach Diaz, rounding the course in 17:35 and 18:12 to earn medals. Bryce Graves was just two seconds off Foltz’s pace as the Warriors first alternate also medaling. Mason Veach was the second alternate to cross the line for Tuscola.
Coach Adam Crutchley’s girl’s team put a pair on the podium as well in a race that boasted over 140 runners and three of the top five teams in the state. Freshman Lia Patterson out legged a runner from Tri-Valley in the final stretch securing a spot in the top 30 taking 29th overall, cracking the twenty-minute mark for the first time in her young career posting a personal best time of 19:45. Classmate and another rising area star for the Lady Warriors Rylie Vanausdoll turned in a PR and collected a medal as well, taking 40th overall with a 20:35.
Skylar Wilkins, Reggan Smith and Addy Ring were the three, four and five runners for coach Crutchley’s 13th place squad that delivered a season best split for one through five of 22:45. Makenzie Hershberger and Kyla Gough were the alternates both posting their best times of the season.