ALTON -- The Southwestern Conference meet has been pretty kind to Julianna Determan.
The Edwardsville senior has placed in the top 10 in the league meet all four years, including Thursday’s meet at Gordon Moore Park. Determan placed eighth with a time of 19 minutes, 29.89 seconds.
Last year, Determan was the Tigers’ top finisher in the conference meet, placing third. She also finished sixth as a sophomore and 10th as a freshman.
“It’s really awesome that I’m able to race against this kind of competition and it’s awesome to have these girls push you everytime,” Determan said. “It’s a really big honor to be all-conference and everything.”
Determan also helped the Tigers win their second consecutive Southwestern Conference title. Edwardsville won the eight-team meet with 22 points. O’Fallon was second with 41, followed by East St. Louis (112), Belleville East (122), Collinsville (138), Alton (154) and Belleville West (163). Granite City didn’t have a team score.
A year ago, the Tigers edged O’Fallon by one point to win the conference title.
“Coming back and winning it again was a really big thing,” Determan said.
The Tigers had all seven of their runners finish in the top 15. All of them earned all-conference honors.
Sophomore Jaycie Hudson was Edwardsville’s top finisher, placing second with an 18:47. Melissa Spencer finished third with an 18:58, Abby Korak placed fourth with a 19:15, Abby Schrobilgen was fifth with a 19:21 and Victoria Vegher placed 13th with a 20:07.
“It’s great,” Hudson said. “It’s so much fun. Everyone is so close to each other, so I think that’s another advantage that we have. Some teams like to be out here to run, but we like to be a family together.”
Edwardsville junior Franky Romano won the boys’ individual title, placing first with a 15:40.22. Last year, Romano finished ninth.
Romano won his second straight meet championship. Last week, he placed first in the Madison County championship meet.
“I’m really glad that I won and hopefully, I’ll keep on improving and I can maybe win regionals,” Romano said.
Also for the Tigers, Roland Prenzler placed fourth with a 15:46, Dan Powell was seventh with a 16:06, Max Hartmann was 10th with a 16:27, Zach Walters placed 14th with a 16:39 and Todd Baxter finished 20th with a 17:03. All five runners earned all-conference honors.
Edwardsville tied O'Fallon for first with 36 points. But O'Fallon, which had five runners in the top 10, was awarded the title because its No. 6 runner had a higher finish than the Tigers' No. 6 runner.
Alton finished third with 98 points. The Redbirds had three runners -- Arie Macias, Kelvin Cummings and Evan Rathgeb -- earning all-conference honors in the boys’ race. Macias placed 12th with a 16:32, Cummings placed 16th with a 16:46 and Rathgeb was 19th with a 16:53.
“It was about as good as we were hoping that we could get,” Alton coach Vernon Curvey said. “I didn’t think we could catch up with Edwardsville and O’Fallon, but third in this conference is really respectful.”
Macias earned all-conference honors for the third straight year. He placed 14th as a sophomore and 11th as a junior.
“It’s awesome because I know that the Southwestern Conference is one of the most competitive conferences in the state,” Macias said. “So getting second-team all-conference is a big honor for me.”
Granite City placed fourth with 109 points. Sophomore Andrew O’Keefe finished second to Romano with a 15:41.99 and senior Will O’Keefe placed 11th with a 16:30.94.
Andrew O’Keefe earned all-league honors for the second straight year. He placed seventh in last year’s race.
“I’m satisfied with it,” Andrew said. “Franky had a really good race. I think I hung pretty good. When it came time to make a move, he made a really strong move that I couldn’t react to.”
Like Determan, Will O’Keefe also earned all-conference honors for the fourth time. He won last year’s race, placed sixth as a sophomore and 10th as a freshman.
Will is now focusing on ending his high school cross country career with a third trip to the state meet.
“I don’t want to cross country to end on a sour note,” the Granite City senior said. “I just got to go out there and do what I know how to do and do what I’ve done so many times before.”
Also in the boys’ race, Belleville East was fifth with 115, Belleville West finished sixth with 128, Collinsville placed seventh with 214 and East St. Louis was eighth with 222.
In the girls’ race, Alton placed sixth with 154 points. Jessica Markel and Kellie Mans finished 26th and 28th, respectively, to lead the Redbirds, who didn’t field a full team last year.
Granite City had just two runners in the girls’ race. Chessy Nikonowicz finished 27th with a 22:08 to lead the Warriors.
O’Fallon’s Brooke Witzel won the SWC girls’ title for the second straight year. She finished with an 18:38.
“I was trying to catch her the whole time,” Hudson said. “They have good sportsmanship. She came up to me at the end and she said, ‘Good job.’”
Edwardsville, Alton and Granite City will compete in the Class 3A Quincy Regional meet on Oct. 22. The Tigers are the defending regional champions in both boys’ and girls’ divisions.
"We just have to give it our all again because we can’t take anything for granted," Determan said. "I’m really excited to see how it turns out.”