EAST ST. LOUIS — Brothers Murphy Affolder and Noah Affolder of Mascoutah put their sibling rivalry aside on Tuesday at the St. Clair County Cross Country Meet.
For 16 minutes, 09.25 seconds and 16 minutes, 09.28 seconds to be exact.
Running stride for stride for three miles with his older brother Murphy for three miles, it was freshman Noah Affolder, who crossed the finish line first as the duo led the Indians to the boys championship at Frank Holten State Park.
"It was by design that we run together to see if we could run a tight enough pack to give us a chance to win the team title,'' Murphy Affolder said. "I honestly don't know which one of us hit the wire first. But they gave me the (first) place medal.''
Regardless of which Affolder brother won the title, it was the Indians won the team title. The Mascoutah harriers finished with 37 points, 13 less then Class 3A state power O'Fallon (50) Freeburg was third with 51 points.
Sophomore Daniel Pearson and senior Matt Thompson placed ninth for the Indians.
Mascoutah coach Pat Cook did not remember the last time the Indians won the county title. And while O'Fallon didn't run any of its top athletes on Tuesday, it should not take anything away from the accomplishment of the Indians.
"Actually, this (county) title was one of our goals. We knew that O'Fallon usually does not run its top runners here (Frank Holten State Park) and so somebody had to win the title. We figured it might as well be us,'' Cook said. "The Affolders are both special runners and the plan was for them to just have a hard workout today.
"But we had (Daniel) Pearson and Matt (Thompson) step up and get top 10 finishes for us. That was big.''
O'Fallon, getting a fourth-place finish from Jacob McDaniel and five top 13 finishes was second, while Freeburg, led by Dylan Mueth (third) and Jonathan Kraus (sixth) and Chris Alt (eighth) placed third.
Evan Alcorn, of Belleville West, placed fifth.
O'Fallon also sat out many of its top runners, but the Panthers still managed to have five runners in the top five as edged Belleville West for the team title.
Sophomores Hannah Nabb and Sarah Duffy along with freshman Mary Kate Porath took the four through six spots in the individual competition for O'Fallon, which finished with 32 points.
Belleville West, looking for a second straight title after winning the Triad Invitational championship last week, was led by a 1-2 finish from juniors Olivia Horton and Emily Fulton.
Horton finished the three mile course in 19:24.3. Fulton was second in 19:43.
O'Fallon coach Neil James said his team followed the game plan to perfection.
"We have a lot of depth and so its good that some of the other girls had the opportunity to show what they could do today,'' James said. "We wanted to run as tight a pack as we could. We had five in the top 10 and so we did a very good job."
As did Horton. A two-time state qualifier, Horton took advantage of the flat course to win the championship.
"I don't know if my time was as good as it was last year but I'm happy with how I ran today. There are holes on the course in spots -- especially on the curves. But I like this course because its flat."
Kristen Collier, of Freeburg, was third behind Horton and Fulton. Belleville West (49 points) and Freeburg (71) rounded out the top three teams.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org