EDWARDSVILLE — The Metro-East Lutheran Debut Invitational got an unwelcome interruption Saturday at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
With temperatures soaring into the upper 90s and a heat index approaching 105, the boys varsity portion of the meet was canceled because of the extremely warm conditions.
The cancellation came as a result of 30 runners requiring medical attention following the girls race. Two runners were treated for heart palpitations according to Metro-East Lutheran Athletic Director and meet coordinator Dave Redden.
Redden was informed of the decision to cancel the remainder of the meet minutes before the scheduled start of the boys race, while meet workers, family members and medical personnel helped athletes affected by the conditions.
"There were three physicians there along with the Southern Illinois University and Edwardsville police departments who said the meet was over,'' Redden said. "We knew it was going to be hot. We were just hoping it wouldn't be this hot. The decision was a good one and for the safety of the athletes, I certainly understand that. I think next year we'll start the girls race at 9 a.m.''
The event is one of the largest meets in the state with 47 teams -- most of which were Class 1A -- scheduled to compete Saturday. Redden said eight invited schools did not attend.
The decision to cancel the boys meet was a good one in the minds of the coaches. Teams from around the state, including defending Class 1A girls state champion Decatur St. Teresa, were in the field.
Freeburg coach Carl Florczyk, whose boys team was ranked 11th in the Class 1A preseason poll, was disappointed his runners did not get an opportunity to compete. But Florczyk supported the decision to call off the race.
"Absolutely, it was the right decision. We were looking forward to running here today, but it's early and there will be plenty of other chances to compete,'' Florczyk said. "It is super hot out here and you certainly don't want anything to happen."
In the girls race, St. Teresa, with three runners placing in the top seven, captured the title with 51 points. Rochester placed second with 139, while Mater Dei -- one of only a handful of Class 2A schools competing -- was third with 157. Carlinville (167), Mount Zion (198) and Freeburg (262) rounded out the top six schools.
Effingham St. Anthony freshman Anna Sophia Keller was the individual winner, covering the rugged 5-kilometer SIUE course in 18 minutes, 8 seconds.
Red Bud junior Deanna Deterding was second in 19:17, while Rachel Devereaux of St. Teresa (19:49) and Althoff senior Savannah Ames (19:59) rounded out the top four.
Deterding, the Musketeers No. 2 runner behind Brittney Burmester a year ago, showed Saturday she's more than ready to take the lead this season.
"We ran in New Athens on Tuesday and it was hot, But today, I think it was hotter,'' Deterding said. "I'm not sure what my time was. I just didn't want to go out too fast. I surprised myself. I was hoping to be in the top 10. To place second is more than I expected.''
Althoff junior Grace Rowan placed 10th in 20:51. Third-place Mater Dei was led by a pair of freshmen in Sophi Kuhl, who was 23rd, and Sophia Lager, who was 24th.