GRANITE CITY -- For the second time in 72 hours, the Civic Memorial boys’ cross country team brought home some hardware.
The Eagles won the small-school division of the Madison County championship meet on Tuesday at Wilson Park. CM edged Roxana by one point to win the small-school division title for the third year in a row. The Eagles had 38 points and the Shells finished with 39.
“The county meet is always tough,” first-year CM coach Jake Peal said. “When we split up in the small-school and large school division, it makes it more fun and it makes it more competitive. Hat’s off to Roxana. They ran a heck of a race. They have a great team. Wood River has a great team. I was nervous heading up to this race. I was nervous all day. Those guys gave me a heart attack, but they ran amazing today. I can’t be happier.”
The CM boys won their third meet of season. On Saturday, the Eagles placed first in the Southwestern Invitational. They won a quadrangular meet at Southwestern High earlier in the season.
“We’re all just working together and that what makes us a really good team,” CM junior Cohl Callies said.
CM also won small-school individual titles in both boys’ and girls’ divisions. Callies placed first in the boys’ race with a time of 15 minutes, 51.68 seconds in the 2.93-mile course. Freshman Zoey Lewis came out on top in the girls’ race with a 19:29.
Callies won his first county championship. A year ago, he placed third.
“I wasn’t expecting to win,” Callies said. “I was out there running my hardest and it kind of happened. I felt strong doing it and it was really unexpected. I expected to come out and run with my team and have us do a really good job together.”
Lewis won the small-school girls’ race by 1 minute, 9 seconds.
“I think she still hasn’t figured out how good she can be,” Peal said. “It’s exciting to coach this girl because she has unlimited potential.”
The Edwardsville Tigers pulled off the sweep in both boys’ and girls’ races in the large-school division. The Tigers won the boys race with 25 points and the girls’ race with 15.
“I thought we had a pretty decent showing,” Edwardsville coach George Patrylak said.
Edwardsville junior Franky Romano won the boys’ race with a 15:03.64, edging out Granite City’s Andrew O’Keefe by two-hundredths of a second. The two runners were fighting for first for most of the race.
“It’s always exciting,” Patrylak said. “You always want to come out on top. If you enjoy the sport of cross country, it’s great to see kids battle like that at the end.”
Edwardsville freshman Abby Korak placed first in the girls’ race with an 18:01.47, beating out teammate Melissa Spencer by three-tenths of a second.
“It means a lot because all of the hard work paid off,” Korak said. “It’s nice to work really hard and get the county title.”
Edwardsville won the large-school boys championship for the 13th straight year.
“Our coach wanted us to do well and we showed up and we ran well and I’m really proud of us,” Romano said. “We did really well today.”
The Tigers won the large-school girls’ title for the ninth consecutive year. They had all of their runners finish in the top seven.
“It’s kind of nice to work as a team and we’re all so close to each other and we push each other really hard, so that’s great,” Korak said.
The Roxana girls’ squad won the small-school division title for the third straight year. The Shells won with 15 points.
Sophomore Michaela Tarpley led Roxana with a third-place finish and a time of 20:50.
“I think we’re pretty solid this year,” Tarpley said. “I’m really proud of everyone on how they’re doing. We got a lot of PRs for this race.”
O’Keefe finished second in the county meet for the second straight year. A year ago, he placed second to his older brother, Will. Will finished third in this year’s meet.
“I ran good,” Andrew O’Keefe said “I’m satisfied with it, especially coming off a good performance on Saturday (at the Peoria Invitational)..
O’Keefe helped Granite City finish second in the boys’ meet with 69 points. The Warriors were tied with Alton with 69 points, but they were awarded second because their sixth runner had a higher finish.
Kelvin Cummings was Alton’s top finisher in the county meet, placing 10th with a 16:10.83 in the boys’ race.
East Alton-Wood River got fourth-place finishes from Jake Roustio in the boys’ race and Carissa Gilreath in the girls’ race in the small-school division.
Marquette Catholic freshman Riley Vickrey, who won the Alton Invitational two weeks ago, placed second with a 20:38 in the small-school girls’ race.
Metro-East Lutheran junior Javon Watkins finished second in 16 minutes in the small-school boys’ race.
Daniel Jones was Father McGivney’s top finisher, placing 15th with an 18:02 in the small-school boys’ race.