By Lenny Sementi
Jackson Barrett ran the best race of his career and sophomore classmate Josiah Hortin was literally right on his heels as the dynamic duo led the Warriors state ranked boys cross country team to a fifth place finish in the toughest regional in the state. The boys in black and gold captured one of the seven advancement spots to the next round of the IHSA postseason posting two personal records and team best 17 minute and one second average from their five scoring runners and two alternates.
They did all this on their home course this past Saturday at Wimple Park. Barrett and Hortin were part of six runner pack chasing one of the states best Logan Beckmier from Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond who won the race in 15:49. They edged a pair of Beckmier’s teammates at the line entering the chute less than a second apart helping coach Lacey Diaz’s squad secure a spot in this Saturday’s Decatur St. Teresa Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth.
Barrett was one step in front of Hortin at the line posting a personal best three-mile time of 16:09 taking fifth overall and grabbing the final regional individual medal. Hortin turned in his best non-road race outing of the year and the second best of his career posting a 16:10 ending his day in sixth.
Senior Logan Wallace saved his best for last, breaking seventeen minutes for the first time in his four-year career crossing the finish line in 16:58. The 10 second PR and a late burst to out leg a runner from St. T and Villa Grove seated him firmly in the top twenty in a loaded field with a fourteenth place finish.
Will Foltz shaved 13 seconds off his time from a week ago at the Conference meet ending in 17:27 capturing twenty-sixth overall and Bryce Graves rounded out the team scoring with an 18:21 the second fastest of his career capturing thirty-ninth.
Riley Nolan landed in the top fifty in forty-sixth with a time of 18:55 while Mason Veach turned in a 19:29 to take fifty-first both serving as alternates.
Diaz’s group will be in the hunt for one of the advancing team spots on Saturday. The first six placing teams and the first ten runners who are not members of the advancing teams in each sectional moves on to the state finals at Detweiller Park in East Peoria.