By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s 15th ranked boys cross-country team makes it to state in maybe every other Sectional in state but they just happened to land in the Decatur St Theresa Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course this past Saturday. The Warriors led by a horde of sophomores were a near miss on a state meet qualification landing just outside the six advancing teams in seventh place overall with forty schools represented.
Two of the strong sophomore group did however produce a pair of individual qualifiers in Josiah Hortin and Jackson Barrett. Coach Lacey Diaz’s one-two punch the entire fall didn’t disappoint, landing in tenth and seventeenth overall capturing their spot in the State Meet at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Hortin took home hardware as well, grabbing a medal for finishing in the top ten with a time of 16 minutes and 50 seconds on the rain soaked course. Barrett was just a few spots back entering the chute in 17:03.
Two other second year runners Will Foltz and Bryce Graves occupied the three and four hole spots for coach Diaz. Foltz clocked in with a 17:29 taking thirty-fifth while Graves crossed the line in 18:29 landing in the top half in seventy-sixth out of a hundred and fifty-four runners.
Seniors and team leaders Logan Wallace and Riley Nolan donned the black and gold for the final time. The duo ran side by side with Wallace edging Nolan at the line for the fifth scoring spot with an 18:50. Nolan was one second back serving as the first alternate. Junior Mason Veach toured the course as the second alternate crossing the line in 20:32.
Freshman Lia Patterson and Rylie Vanausdoll showed the way for the girl’s team. Patterson took thirty-ninth overall finishing just outside the ten individual qualification spots with a time of 20:56. Vanausdoll ended her day in sixty-ninth with a 22:20. Junior Makenzie Herschberger and sophomores Lauren Woods and Addy Ring were the final three scorers for coach Adam Crutchley. Junior Reggan Smith was the first Tuscola alternate and senior Kyla Gough ran her final race in the black and gold as the second alternate.
“We got great runs by both the girls and the boys,” stated the coaches. “A wet muddy course didn’t stop our athletes from competing very well. Congratulations go out to Josiah and Jackson on qualifying for state as individuals.”