EDWARDSVILLE – A year ago, the Edwardsville boys’ cross country team had a streak of seven consecutive state meet appearances come to an end.
The Tigers placed eighth in the 2015 Class 3A Normal Community Sectional, making it the first time since 2007 they didn’t have any state qualifiers.
This fall, Edwardsville is looking to go back to Peoria after a year hiatus.
“My goal throughout my whole high school career is run at state,” Edwardsville senior Sam McCormick said. “Nobody on the team ran at state in high school. We’re all around inexperienced in that.”
The Tigers celebrated their first victory of the season on Wednesday after winning the Tiger Fall Classic at SIUE. Edwardsville had seven runners place in the top 25 and won the 12-team meet with 31 points.
Four days before, the Tigers placed fourth at the Granite City Invitational.
“We had a bad race on Saturday, so we came out here and we were hoping to run a little bit better,” McCormick said. “I don’t think we ran our best, but I think we did a pretty good job.”
Junior Franky Romano placed third with a 17:17, freshman Jack Pifer finished fourth with a 17:26 and sophomore Roland Prenzler was fifth with a 17:35.
Also for the Tigers, McCormick finished 11th with an 18:27, sophomore Max Hartmann was 12th with an 18:30, sophomore Dan Powell placed 14th with an 18:39 and senior Jacob Schoenthal was 22nd with a 19:08.
Edwardsville also won the girls division to complete the sweep. The Tigers had six runners place in the top 10 and placed first with 20 points to win their second meet of the season. They won the Granite City Invitational title on Saturday.
“It’s really nice because we have that confidence booster,” Edwardsville senior Julianna Determan said. “We try not to get excited about these meets because we’re focusing on the end of the season.”
Freshman Abby Korak placed second with a time of 20 minutes, 50 seconds to lead the Edwardsville girls. Korak finished runner-up at the Granite City Invitational on Saturday.
Determan placed third with a 20:55, sophomore Abby Schrobilgen finished fourth in 21:17, sophomore Maddie Miller was fifth with a 21:18, sophomore Jaycie Hudson placed sixth with a 21:21 and sophomore Payton Flowers finished seventh with a 21:22 and sophomore Kiara Delgado was 13th with a 22:31.
Determan said she pleased with the way her team performed under very humid conditions.
“I’m pretty proud of our girls,” the Edwardsville senior said. “They really toughed it out through this heat today. It shows how strong and how mentally tough they are.”
The Granite City Warriors finished ninth in the boys’ race with 205 points and 10th in the girls’ race with 238 points.
Junior Alyssa Comer was the Warriors’ top finisher, placing 26th with a 23:54 in the girls’ race. She came up one place short of getting a medal.
Belleville East’s Megan Korte beat Comer by almost a second to finish 25th. The top 25 runners at the Tiger Classic receive medals.
“My hips were hurting a little bit, so I slowed down,” Comer said. “At the end, I tried to go on. But then, that girl took my spot and passed me up.”
Roxana finished sixth with 156 points in the boys’ race. Senior Brandon Isom came up one place shy of a medal, finishing 26th with a 19:31.
The Shells hope to clear the sectional hurdle this fall. Last year, Roxana qualified for Class 1A sectionals by placing seventh in regionals at New Athens.
“That will be a dream come true to get out of sectionals,” Roxana senior James Henseler said.
Roxana placed eighth with 209 points in the girls’ race. Sophomore Michaela Tarpley finished 30th with a 24:48 to lead the Shells.
East Alton-Wood River had just three runners competing in varsity, all of them are seniors. Brenden Springman placed 32nd with a 20:08 in the boys’ race and Carissa Gilreath and Kaylee Dailey finished 36th and 60th, respectively, in the girls’ race.
Gilreath and Dailey hope to qualify for sectionals for the second time in three years this fall.
“It will be a good experience,” Gilreath said. “We haven’t been able to do that since our sophomore year.”