EDWARDSVILLE — High on the list of goals for Edwardsville senior Allie Sweatt during the 2013 cross country season is to be a leader on an otherwise very young Tigers team.
One of the top runners in the metro-east during the past three years, Sweatt marvels at the amount on the potential of her young Tigers teammates.
"This team can be awesome. There is so much potential here right now. We're going to soon have four freshman on the varsity. But they're just kids,'' Sweatt said. "If we could somehow make it to state this year, I can't wait to see what this team will be like in four years.''
Led by Sweatt, the Tigers very good on Monday. Taking advantage of ideal conditions, Sweatt covered the 5K course at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 19 minutes, 16 seconds as she led Edwardsville's harriers to an easy win at the Edwardsville Tigers Fall Classic.
Led by the individual champion in Sweatt and two of the top freshmen in Caitlyn Scheibal who was fifth overall and seventh place Savannah Brannen, Edwardsville finished with a total of 19 points, 31 fewer then Mater Dei.
Juniors Lizzie Lynn (sixth) and Erika Fulbright (eighth) also had solid performances for Edwardsville. But it was Sweatt who led the way.
Sweatt's time was 21 seconds faster then Althoff senior Savannah Ames (19:37) and 40 seconds better then Althoff junior Grace Rowan (19:56). Highly-touted Mater Dei freshman Sophie Kuhl rounded out the top four individuals with a time of 20:18.
"It was a good race. I ran well at Peoria on Saturday and I'm just really excited about the rest of our season,'' Sweatt said. "I want to be the leader on this team. I would like to be the one that people talk favorably about when I'm no longer here.''
Mater Dei placed second with 50 points followed by Triad (98), O'Fallon (118) and Alton (122).
O'Fallon, which raced on Saturday at the Forest Park Invitational, chose not to run its top runners in either the girls or the boys race. The Panthers top athletes will compete in the Peoria Notre Dame meet on Saturday at beautiful Detweiler Park in Peoria.
Also not on hand on Monday was Edwardsville coach George Patrylak, who missed the meet for medical reasons. Assistant coach Dustin Davis handled the coaching chores for the running Tigers.
Davis liked what he saw from his boys team which, led by individual champion Brydon Groves-Scott and two other top five placewinners, breezed to an 81 point win in over East Alton-Wood River.
Groves-Scott, a junior, finished with a time of 16:23 seconds, 11 seconds better then Vandalia junior Ben Strobel.
"I ran a good race today and am happy with my time. I love running this time of year where its not too cold to where you can just run. The conditions were perfect,'' Groves-Scott said. "I see my role on this team being to keep this team together. We're really close. My goals are to be an all-stater and to help this team in the top 15 at state. I think that's very realistic."
Wes Schoenthal, of Edwardsville, was third in time of 16:40, while William Mclemore, of Wood River, cae in fourth (16:46) and Iain Perry, of Edwardsville, placed fifth in 16:53.
Davis said he was pleased at what he saw from the Tigers.
"We ran well on Saturday, but with just the two days between races, we were a little concerned about the turnaround. But I thought we looked strong,'' Davis said.
Mater Dei (114 points), Belleville East (126) and O'Fallon (138) rounded out the top five boys teams.