For a fourth consecutive year, Morris advanced both its boys and girls cross country teams beyond the regional round Saturday.
The boys finished third with 94 points at the Class 2A Crete-Monee Regional. Counting Redskins were Jake Hesslau in ninth place (17:40.6), Zach Chapman in 12th (17:50.3), Alan Alvarez in 21st (18:07.1), Vincente Gallegos in 26th (18:22.2) and Tristan DeGrush in 31st (18:28.7).
“One guy that toed the line today had postseason experience [senior Eric Robinson, who was 32nd with a time of 18:41.9]. Our inexperienced guys ran extremely well under pressure. Two freshmen – Zach Chapman and Jayson Podschweit [35th; 19:03.6] – stepped up, a first-year runner – sophomore Al Alvarez – three hard-working juniors – Hesslau, Gallegos and DeGrush – and captain Eric Robinson. They were all great [Saturday],” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said.
“When you lose your No. 1 [Jacob Wantland] to injury, your No. 2 to grades and three other top-five guys [Austin Patterson, Brock Kukman and Nick Marino] to injuries, that’s a lot to overcome. I could not be more proud of our guys for their resiliency.”
The Morris girls, who advance for a seventh straight year, placed fifth with 138 points collectively. They counted places from Bridget Gile (21st; 22:13.1), Meghan Smith (22nd; 22:26.1), Emily Ashworth (31st; 22:56.9), Katie Erickson (32nd; 23:10.9) and Maria Blanco (35th; 23:25.2).
“Going in, it looked as if we would be in a battle for the last advancing spot, where every point and every pass is critical,” Blumberg said. “Our girls exceeded our expectations, beating a (Northern Illinois Big 12) conference school that was superior to us just a week prior. Great races by one of our leaders – Bridget Gile – two rookies, freshmen Meghan Smith and Maria Blanco – and seniors Katie Erickson and Emily Ashworth.”
Morris advances to the Normal West Sectional on Saturday.
3A Normal Community Regional
Minooka’s girls won by a margin of 47 points with 21 on Saturday at Maxwell Park. Mackenzie Callahan of Minooka was individual champion, edging out teammate Ashley Tutt as both finished in 18:07.
Caleigh Beverly was also all-region, finishing fifth (18:23), and the Indians counted Morgan Crouch (sixth; 18:28) and Kaitlyn Chetney (seventh; 18:40) as well. The other Minooka runners – Moira McAsey (ninth; 18:53) and Haley McNamara (10th; 18:59) allowed the Indians to get all 7 under 19:00 for the first time.
“The girls had an extremely strong showing. There were a lot of positives out there today,” Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “I was extremely proud of our freshman duo of Callahan and Tutt as they worked great together on the course. Their power moves down the stretch to take over the race was great to see.”
In the boys race, Minooka advanced by placing third with 61 points. Its lone all-region runner was Gabe Ceballos, who was second (15:43). Soren Knudsen (ninth; 16:12), Henry Bugajski (14th; 16:25), Miguel Lomeli (16th; 16:29) and Ben Ubert (20th; 16:39) contributed to the team finish.
“The boys put together their best total team race of the season,” Gummerson said.
“Gabe Ceballos is getting better and better each weekend. He is extremely confident and is not afraid to take a gamble during the tough times in the race. I was proud of the way these kids stayed mentally engaged in the race and were able to work their way up throughout the course.”
Next up for the Indians is the Edwardsville Sectional at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday.
1A Seneca Regional
The host Lady Irish advanced with a third-place total of 65 points Saturday at the Seneca Agricultural Farm. They counted Sarah Cameron (fifth; 20:31.8), Caroline Collet (sixth; 20:59.8), Sarah Virgo (15th; 22:01.2), Shailee Bauer (24th; 23:12.7) and Lexi Bogren (225th; 23:23.1).
Seneca’s boys did not advance as a team, finishing eighth with 194 points, but Ross McCormick (seventh; 18:03.2) and James Miller (32nd; 19:26.5) did advance individually. Other Fighting Irish counters were Carter Gallick (20:00.9), Kole Gallick (57th; 20:48.7) and Zach Rivett (21:26.4).
1A McNamara Regional
Daly Galloway of Gardner-South Wilmington was individual girls champion with a time of 18:57, leading the Lady Panthers to a sectional-qualifying, seventh-place point total of 144 Saturday. They also counted places from Savannah Baldauf (20th; 21:52), Kitrina Hayner (38th; 24:14), Tori Hanyer (42nd; 25:13) and ReAnn Scoggin (43rd; 26:12).
Micnael Mankowski of GSW placed 14th with a time of 17:49 in the boys race to advance individually. The Panthers did not field a full team, thoguh Nathan Ruffatti (26th; 18:27), Billy Evans (45th; 19:26) and Zander Harris (61st; 21:04) also ran.
Tommy Lovett rushed 11 times for 68 yards Friday night for Seneca (7-2). Bo Taylor had 33 yards on 6 carries, and Casey Pifer added 25 yards on 7 attempts. Joey Rasmussen made a team-high 8 tackles.
Ryan Schlabowski rushed 25 yards for the first Dwight (0-9) touchdown Friday, and Chris Peck passed to Brandon Allen for 5 yards for the second. Gavin Hawks was the leading rusher for the Trojans with 4 carries for 66 yards. Jack Davidson ran 4 times for 52 yards, and Schlabowski ran 4 times for 44. Aaron Wylie made 12.5 total tackles and Damian Flood 2 tackles for losses for the Dwight defense.
The Indians finished 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the Southwest Prairie Conference Friday.