By Mark Jurgena
The Highland cross country teams each took 2nd place at the Madison County large school meet in Bethalto on October 5th.
“It was the best weather we’ve had this season, probably and easily the best all-around meet we’ve had this year,” said coach Doug Bradley. “The number of personal bests were astonishing. I don’t view this course as a great place to run fast times but it really played out that way for us. Credit the kids for finding the positives and pushing the pace all afternoon.”
The boys team finished just 13 points behind Edwardsville. The Dogs totaled 49 points.
“I thought the boys got out kind of slow and we dropped off our early leader, Mason Steinbeck, before the mile mark and that made me nervous,” Bradley said. “The team though really sprang to life at the one-mile mark and fought their way into a real back and forth tussle with the Tigers over that last two miles. The team ran smart and with a lot of heart.”
Juniors Ethan Smith, Cole Basden, and Ethan Steinbeck each recorded top ten finishes on the day.
Smith ran a 16:46.1 which placed him fifth for the meet.
“Ethan Smith ran a super race,” said Bradley. “He had a rough race at Jacksonville on Saturday and that likely motivated him to come back and race well today. He also really likes this course. He ran a faster third mile than second mile to pass two Edwardsville guys late. That kind of competitiveness was precisely what the team needed as they’ve had a tough couple of weeks.”
Basden came in at 16:56.7, good enough for 8th place.
“Cole Basden ran well on Saturday (October 2nd) and that makes two in a row for him,” said Bradley. “He broke 17:00 minutes for this first time in his career and I’m beyond excited. He’s running great right now.”
Steinbeck barely missed a sub-17:00 as he registered a 17:00.4
Freshmen Avery Brock and Christian Knobloch were the next two Dogs to finish.
Brock recorded a 12th place finish with a time of 17:12.9 and Knobloch got 14th by running a 17:18.7.
Christian Pace got 21st by finishing in 17:44.6 while Isaac Irving ran a 17:52.2 good for 24th.
Andrew Pace of Triad won the County crown with a time of 16:15.9.
The girls finished farther off the pace than their male counterparts. The Bulldogs had 59 points, Edwardsville had 18.
Highland’s Tarryn Keeney broke up the Tiger party in the top ten. Keeney came in third place to disrupt their stranglehold on the top times.
Six of the seven top finishers at the meet were from Edwardsville.
For her part, Keeney ran a 19:32.4. It was the second sub-20:00 finish in a row for her.
“She started getting aggressive just before the mile mark and then really cut loose with a terrific surge that put her in a great position,” said Bradley. “Her strong second and third mile were something to see.”
Junior Liv Heinzmann placed just outside the top ten in 11th place.
Heinzmann ran a 20:09.5.
“She rolled an ankle earlier this season and that halted some momentum over the first half of the season,” said Bradley. “Today she saw an opportunity and took it. She looked more confident and comfortable than I’ve seen her since last season.”
Maddie Dortch placed right behind her with a 20:16.5.
HHS then had three freshmen show up on the leaderboard.
Lola Schliemann placed 15th with a 20:37.8 while Alyson Pace ran a 20:42.5 good for the 17th spot.
Madison Emig was the next Bulldog showing up on the course. She placed 18th with a time of 20:51.2.
Danielle Little placed 24th with a time of 21:30.7
Olivia Cole of Edwardsville ran a 19:05 to take the county title.