The run to Detweiller Park in Peoria and the 2013 state cross country meet is about to begin for metro-east athletes.
After sweeping their respective conference meets in the past week, Class A Freeburg and Class 3A power O'Fallon headline the list of local schools which will compete in regionals today at sites throughout Southern and central Illinois.
Cahokia Conference power Freeburg appears to be the team to beat at the New Athens Regional, which begins at 10:30 a.m. with the girls competition at Okaw Valley Park.
Metro-East Lutheran, Columbia and Althoff also are among the 14-team field.
The Class 1A Chester Regional will be held at Randolph County Conservation Area beginning at 11 a.m.
Red Bud, led by individual Cahokia Conference champions Deanna Deterding and Ethan DuClos, tops the field, which also includes Sparta, Nashville and Okawville.
In Class 2A, Mater Dei, Highland, Mascoutah, East St. Louis, Waterloo and Triad will compete in the Highland Regional, which is being held at the Alhambra Fireman's and City Park, beginning at 10 a.m. with the girls race.
Highland has one of the top runners in the state in sophomore Allison Zobrist, while in the boys race it will be the depth of Waterloo battling the individual brilliance of brothers Noah and Murphy Affolder from Mascoutah.
Looking for a third straight state trophy, the Southwestern Conference champion O'Fallon Panthers and always strong Edwardsville Tigers are among seven SWC schools competing in the Quincy Class 3A Regional, which begins at 11 a.m.
Class 3A state runner-up in each of the last two seasons, O'Fallon is led by Stanford recruit Patrick Perrier and Dorrian Gordon.
The O'Fallon girls team, which has been ranked in the top 10 all season, is the team to beat at Quincy, while Edwardsville senior Allie Sweatt should be the top individuals.
Belleville West, Belleville East, Collinsville and Granite City also are at Quincy.