By Mark Jurgena
The 2020 edition of Triad Middle School cross country finished their season in style last week as both the boys and girls teams placed third at the SIJHSAA Class L state meet at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Triad’s runners had to overcome the competition and the elements as well.
“Honestly both boys and girls had fantastic races,” said coach Megan DeLong. “Considering the circumstances with the course. It was raining at the beginning of the meet when we first got there. So the course was a muddy, sloppy mess which makes it a little more enjoyable. I think that’s the true cross country season right there.”
In the boys race, Triad’s Drew Twyman completes an undefeated season by outkicking Gabe McLain of Benton. Twyman came in at 10:36.8 over the two-mile course while McLain finished in 10:39.1.
“We talked about a game plan ahead of time,” DeLong said. “I told him to just stay on that leader; just hang on him. Then at the end it’s time to go. He executed perfectly.”
Lance Staufer was the next Crusader to finish. He finished in 19th place with a time of 11:46.1.
Gavin Woolverton got 34th place with a time of 12:06.3.
Next up for TMS was a 38th place finish by Cody Bagwell. He ran a 12:10.9.
Michael Schram was next with a 12:21.3 good for 44th spot.
Anderson Hoback and Silas Thomason rounded out the scoring. Hoback was 66th with a time of 12:54.5. Thomason ran a 13:01.2 to finish in 71st.
Herrin won the title with 62 points while Salem got second with 72 points. Triad had 101.
On the girls side, Kacey Ruger placed fourth at DuQuoin. She finished in 12:18.3.
“Kacey Ruger for just being a sixth-grader not only composed herself during the race but also showed a lot of guts, like she normally does,” DeLong said.
Mikayla Niehaus placed 27th with a time of 13:11.2 with Erica Boyce next at 13:22.4 good for 35th place.
Kennedy Bowman finished 38th in 13:24.1 while Hillary Graham registered 13:25.5. She placed 41st.
Cheyenne Hildebrand got 48th spot with a 13:29.0 and Sophia Bohnak got 59th in 13:39.1.
Ella Sager of Fairfield won the title with a time of 11:57.6.
Waterloo won the Class L title with 59 points. Mascoutah was next with 67 points.
TMS and Carterville tied for 3rd place with 106 points, but Triad claimed the third spot with the higher sixth-place finisher. That distinction went to Hildebrand.
“When I tell the girls ‘every point counts, that’s a prime example of every single point counts,” said DeLong.