EDWARDSVILLE – Kyrston Scifres propelled the Roxana High girls’ cross country team directly onto the path to Peoria.
The senior finished ninth in 20 minutes, 30.81 seconds Saturday to lead the fifth-place Shells in the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Sectional on the SIUE campus. The first five teams earned state dates.
East Alton-Wood River’s Haley Kerpan, 12th in 20:43.96, also qualified individually. No local guys advanced to the three-class boys’ and girls’ IHSA finals, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
“It feels pretty awesome to go to state and I’m glad the whole team made it,” Scifres said. “I was really pumped up for this race.”
The rest of the Shells were just as motivated in the 5K run. Junior Shalyn Edwards took 31st in 21:46.82; freshman Michaela Tarpley, 32nd in 21:57.80; frosh Victoria Tarpley, 52nd in 22:46.26 and senior Alexis Stumpf, 64th in 23:14.64; also figured in the Shells’ scoring.
Roxana finished fifth with 162 points. Champion Herrin (71 points), runner-up Breese Mater Dei (81), Freeburg (127) and Carterville (153) also qualified their teams for the small-school state finals.
“It was an outstanding race from all of our girls because everybody had their personal-best time,” Shells’ coach Scott Edwards said. “We were a ‘bubble team’ for state going into the sectional and we did our best.”
Scifres, third in the New Athens Regional, served as the Shells’ sectional ringleader.
“That was Kyrston’s best race of the season,” Edwards said. “She had a great race.”
The Oilers’ Kerpan, also a senior, did what she needed to do in securing a state slot. The best seven individuals not on the top five teams, also qualified for state.
“I really wanted to finish in the top 10 places,” said Kerpan, champ of the New Athens Regional. “It was a tough race today, but it’ll be good to go to state.”
EA-WR coach Russ Colona added, “Haley gave it everything she had. I think she was a little tired today because she has been working for 5.5 hours every night after school and it might have taken a little out of her.”
Natalie Halliday, a senior from Marquette Catholic, fell short in her quest to go to state. She wound up 41st in 22:27.07. The last individual state qualifier was West Frankfort’s Jacklynn Calvert, 17th in 21:04.06.
Kara Martin, a senior from Herrin, won the girls’ race in 19:37.73. Sophie Keith of Pinckneyville ran second in 19:51.15 and Maura Farrell of Herrin was third in 20:10.23. Scifres was the second-best Southwestern Illinois finisher. Keri Burmester of Red Bud placed fourth in 20:14.82.
Harrison Thomas of Carterville won the boys’ 5K race in 16:29.98. Alex Mack of Freeburg came in second at 16:46.01 and Brandon Schnitker of Nashville was third in 16:51.46.
Pinckneyville snared the team title by scoring 56 points. Freeburg finished second with 98 points, followed by Nashville (103), Steeleville (156) and Benton (162). EA-WR (344) took 13th and Roxana (466) was 19th in the 21- team field.
“We have a young team, so this is a building process,” coach Russ Colona said of the Oilers, third in the New Athens Regional. “It takes time, but this team is ahead of schedule.”
Brenden Springman, a junior at EA-WR, led the team with a 38th place finish in 18:20.60. James Henseler, a junior for Roxana, emerged as the Shells’ top runner. He was 59th in 18:50.25.
Springman, seventh in the New Athens Regional, noted: “I didn’t feel good today and I didn’t run my best race. I had an all right season, but it wasn’t a good race race today. My goal was to get through the sectional and make it to state.”
Class 2A Decatur MacArthur Sectional
No runners from Civic Memorial High, which had one competitor in each of the boys' and girls' races, advanced to the state finals.
Chatham Glenwood (60 points) won the girls' title and Springfield High (79 points) finished first in the boys' competition. Junior Ben Flowers of Jersey added another title to his resume by winning the boys' race in 14:59.51. Freshman Katherine Petty of Rochester took first in the girls' race at 17:39.61.
For the first time in her prep career, senior Alex Singleton of CM missed out on advancing to the IHSA finals.Her time was 19:23.12, or 41 seconds behind Carbondale's Atlexus Green, the seventh and last individual state qualifier at 18:42.
Eagles' sophomore Cohl Callies, a sectional boys' qualifier, also didn't advance to state.
Class 3A Normal Sectional
Alton High sent four boys and one girl to Normal, but none of them made it through the rugged competition.
Junior Arie Macias was the closest one, finishing 31st overall in the boys' run at 16:16.5. Granite City freshman Andrew O'Keefe, 19th in 16:07.9, was the final individual qualifier. Brother Will, a junior and champion of the Edwardsville Regional at SIUE, couldn't get through the sectional. His time was 16:13.6, good for 27th place.
AHS boys Sam Gentelin, Kelvin Cummings and Jett Durr, plus girl Taton Kuebli also didn't qualify for state. In addition, Granite City girls Alyssa Comer, Kori Nesbit and Tara Khousana completed their season.
Minooka, led by Ashley Tutt with a winning time of 17:20, won the girls' sectional championship. Edwardsville finished fifth with 125 points and advanced its team to state, as did O'Fallon, third with 116 points.
And Minooka made it a team sweep by scoring 93 points to finish first in the boys' action. O'Fallon was second with 101 points. Soren Knudsen of Minooka was the individual winner in 15:17.