BELLEVILLE — In a span of a little over a year, Belleville West's Evan Alcorn has gone from being an average track and field and cross country runner to one of the best in southern Illinois.
On Tuesday, Alcorn reaffirmed that he's also one of the most versatile runners.
One of the leaders on a much improved squad of West harriers, Alcorn broke away from Maroons teammate Chris Jackson late and won his second straight Belleville city cross country title at Belleville West.
Best remembered for a remarkable 800-meter leg which helped the Maroons earn a medal in the 4x800 meter relay at the Class 3A State Track Meet last spring, Alcorn simply used his pure power to slowly pulled away from Jackson as he finished with a time of 17 minutes, 5 seconds on the three mile course. Jackson placed second in 17.32.
"The 800 meters is my favorite and best distance but whatever it takes. One of my goals is to help this team get to the state meet. Hopefully the girls team can get there too,'' Alcorn said. "I thought Chris and I worked and pushed each other hard today and that was good. I don't think my time was as good as it was last year, but it was good enough to win and we won the team title.''
Henry Schmitz placed third in 17:36 while Hunter Cason was fifth as Belleville West took four of the first five places to finish with 18 points, well ahead of Belleville East (50) and Althoff (62).
The Maroons boys finish capped off a third straight sweep of the city cross country championship.
In the girls event, West overcame a third consecutive individual championship from Althoff senior Savannah Ames and a runner-up finish from Crusaders teammate Grace Rowan, to finish with 16 points and edge Belleville East (42) for the title.
Juniors Olivia Horton and Emily Fulton paced the Maroons winning effort, placing third and fourth individually.
Althoff had only four runners in the girls race and thus did not qualify for the team competition.
But this day, as it has for the last three years, belonged to the Maroons.
"I'm very pleased with the way both our boys and girls competed today. Our times weren't great, but we great effort. There is something to be proud of to say you are a city champion. We didn't want our city rivals to come in and beat us on our home course, either,'' Maroons coach Patton Segraves said. "To take four of the top five places in the boys race and then almost have a perfect score in the girls race, it was a very good day.''
Althoff's Michael Barnes ended the Maroons hope of perfection in the boys race when he placed fourth, just ahead of Hunter Cason.
Xavier Hall was the top runner for East placing sixth while Nick Ernst of West was seventh. East runners Nick Lopez and Amani Franklin were eighth and ninth respectively, while Jack Buese, of Althoff, rounded out the top 10.
Ames, a three-time all-state athlete in cross country and track and field, was pushed to the limit by Rowan in the late going of the girls race. But with a late spurt, Ames held off her Crusaders teammate as she finished the three mile course in 18:49.3. Rowan's time was 18:49.9.
"Its great to have Grace to push me. I think the competition will make us both better for the end of the year,'' Ames said. "It's great to be a three time city champion. My time wasn't great today, but I'm healthy and we're building towards the end of the season. That's when I want to be at my best.''
Horton and Fulton were followed by West teammates Brittany Luster (fifth) and Sarah Dintelman (sixth). Belleville East sophomore Haley Inyart was seventh while completing the top 10 were Milie Alejo of West (eighth), Audrey Winn of Belleville East (ninth) and Lizzy Michaels of Althoff (10th).
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or email@example.com