EDWARDSVILLE — It was another day and another title for the Freeburg Midgets on Saturday at the Class 1A Metro-East Lutheran Cross Country Sectional.
Sophomore Jonathan Kraus covered the 3.1-mile course at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 17 minutes and 36 seconds to place seventh and four other Midgets finished in the top 20, as Freeburg claimed its second straight sectional title.
Battling cold, windy conditions, the Midgets' depth and pack time was the difference.
Led by Kraus and a surprising eighth-place finish from Alex Mack, Freeburg had its top five runners separated by just 38 seconds as it finished with 72 points. Salem (104) and Wood River (151) rounded out the top three schools.
The sectional title is the second straight and second in school history for the Midgets, who have won the Cahokia Conference meet, the Class 1A New Athens Regional and now a sectional title in the last three weeks.
"The boys went out and just ran an incredible race today. We knew we had to stay tight as a pack and today we did that better than we have all year,'' Midgets coach Carl Florczyk said. "Jon (Kraus) led the way and our freshman (Alex) Mack ran a great race. Our pack was the difference. It doesn't matter who our top guy was, because we've had different kids step up all year. I'm very pleased."
Riley Keleher (14th), Dylan Mueth (17th) and Patrick Kramper (20th) rounded out the top five for Freeburg, which now advances to the Class 1A state cross country meet on Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Salem, Wood River, Sparta (151) and Nashville (166) also will advance to state.
(Carmi) White County senior Michael Brown was the individual champion in 16:14, defeating Kenny Heaton of Sparta by 10 seconds.
Heaton was hobbling on an injured leg following the race.
"It's been bothering me the past few days,'' Heaton said. "I'm a little disappointed, because I wanted to win. But I advanced. My goal is to be in the top five next week.''
Individuals moving on were Ethan DuClos of Red Bud (seventh) and Jace Dumont of Metro-East Lutheran (13th).
In the girls competition, Deanna Deterding of Red Bud posted a winning time of 19:12, as she held off Althoff senior Savannah Ames for the title to lead the way for local runners.
Also a Cahokia Conference and Chester Regional champion, Deterding got out fast and never looked back as she posted a nine-second win over Ames.
"I wanted to get out fast and I was able to do that today,'' Deterding said. "This (19:12) is my fastest time on this course. I'm excited and ready to go for next week.''
Southern Illinois power Carterville (64 points) edged Freeburg (71) for the team title. Murphysboro (131), Herrin (148) and Salem (164) rounded out the five teams who earned trips to Peoria.
Second-place Freeburg was led by a ninth-place finish from freshman Kristen Collier, while Emily Marler (13th) and Ashley Gilmore (14th) also ran well for the Midgets.
"Congratulations to Carterville, which ran a great race. But I'm proud of my girls,'' Florczyk said. "We wanted to win. But we advanced. That's what is important.''
Also advancing to state were Savannah Ames (second) and Grace Rowan (fourth) of Althoff. Ames finished just nine seconds behind Deterding, while Rowan ran a 19:52.
"Deanna (Deterding) is a great runner, but both Savannah and Grace were able to close the gap on her time-wise from the last couple of times we've run against Red Bud," Althoff coach Gary Calhoun said. "To be able to take two girls to state, we're elated with that.''
Keri Burmester of Red Bud (eighth), Ashley Brenning of Sparta (12th) and Alaina Fett of Marissa (13th) also earned the right to compete at the state finals.