NEW ATHENS — Two of the top Class A runners in southern Illinois -- Red Bud's Ethan DuClos and Deanna Deterding -- swept to easy wins on Monday at the Cahokia Conference Cross Country Meet.
And so did the Freeburg Midgets.
Ranked among the top 15 Class 1A teams in the state in both the boys and girls divisions, the Midgets had five of the top 10 harriers in both classes as they breezed to league titles on a cool, fall afternoon at Okaw Valley Park.
Utilizing its huge advantage in depth over its league foes, the Midgets had five-person pack times of under a minute as it rolled to its sixth straight title on the girls side and captured its fourth straight boys conference crown.
"This is basically the start of the postseason and the time when as a coach you want to see improvement with each passing race. I saw that from both the boys and girls side today," Midgets coach Carl Florczyk said. "Our pack time was under 45 seconds for the girls and under a minute for the boys and so I thrilled with how we ran today."
Deterding also looked good on Monday as running by herself for most the last mile, she barely missed recording a personal best time.
The Musketeers' junior finished the 2.95-mile course in 18 minutes, 1 second, just four seconds slower then her best of 17:57.
"I just try to race against the clock when there is nobody pushing me. It was a great day to run-- a little cold early, but weather-wise, this is a great day to run," Deterding aid. "My coaches tell me I'm ranked sixth in the state. My goal is to get to state and be in the top 10."
Teammate Keri Burmester was a distant second behind Deterding, while Freeburg's Kristen Collier and Emily Marler finished third and fourth respectively.
Ashley Gilmore, Emma Farley and Lindsey Mank took the sixth through eighth places for Freeburg, which finished with 28 points, 29 fewer then Red Bud.
"We've been working on our pack, trying to get it down, and it was the best we've been all year,'' Florczyk said. "We've had girls step and run well for us all year and somebody who has been a real leader for us has been Emma (Farley). But its been a team effort.''
DuClos had a bit more of a challenge from Freeburg's Jonathan Kraus and Dylan Mueth, but broke away late as he finished with a time of 16:5 to win the individual title. DeClos' time is 30 seconds faster then his previous personal best.
"I just wanted to stay relaxed and then make my move in the last mile becuse I have a strong kick and good speed,'' DuClos said. "Jonathan (Kraus), Dylan (Mueth) and myself, we've been going back and forth all year. Today was my day. I felt good.''
Kraus and Mueth were second and third individually while a third Midgets runner, Alex Mack, placed fourth.
Riley Keleher (fifth) and Chris Alt (eighth) rounded out the top five runners for the Midgets who finished with 22 points.
Red Bud (86) and Columbia (103) rounded out the top three teams.
"I'm just ecstatic about how the boys ran today,'' Florczyk said. "It's been a great year and these kids have been a lot of fun to work with.
"This is the first time we've been ranked in the top 15 in both the boys and girls in the same year. I really think we could be a top 10 at state in both."
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org