The Edwardsville Tigers had five runners place in the top 21 as they opened the cross country season with an impressive win at the Granite City Invitational on Saturday at Wilson Park.
Junior Roland Prenzler covered the 3-mile course in 15 minutes and 15 seconds to place third behind overall champion Andrew O’Keefe, of Granite City, and runner-up Charlie Parrish, of Freeburg. O’Keefe, a junior, covered the flat course in 15:05, seven seconds faster than Parrish, who was a Class A all-state runner a year ago.
But Edwardsville dominated the team competition in the first major invitational meet of the season. With Frankie Romano (14th), Max Hartmann (16th), Zach Walters (20th) and Jack Pifer (21st) rounding out the Tigers’ top five runners, Edwardsville finished with 73 points — 18 fewer than second place Chatham-Glenwood.
St. Louis University High School (111) and O’Fallon (146) rounded out the top four teams. But it was Edwardsville that staked its claim as the top team in Southern Illinois.
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“Our boys had their best showing at Granite City in recent history,” Tigers coach George Patrylak said. “The past two seasons the boys have come out a little sluggish and really made gains throughout the season. We were a little better this year, but it was far from a great day. The boys did enough, but we have a lot to work on before the post season.
“Roland (Prenzler) looked really good, running a 15:15. I believe Dustin Davis and Garrett Sweatt were the only two runners I have coached to run faster than Roland at this meet. For us to be successful, we need to get our 1-5 gap down to under thirty seconds. Overall it was a good start, but more is expected in the future.”
Seniors Lucas Capistrant, of O’Fallon, and Luke Goebel, of Mater Dei, rounded out the top five individuals.
Tiger girls repeat
The Edwardsville girls overcame the brilliance of Waterloo junior Jenna Schwartz to run away with the team title.
Schwartz, a two-time Class 2A all-state selection and one of the favorites to contend for the Class 2A state crown in Peoria in November, covered the three mile course in 17 minutes and 32 seconds, 16 seconds better than Edwardsville sophomore Abby Korak (17:48).
But the Bulldogs couldn’t compete with the Tigers’ superior depth. Edwardsville, which finished with only 33 points, had five of the top 12 runners. Following Korak for Edwardsville were Abby Schrobilgen (4th), Melissa Spencer (6th), Emily England (9th) and Jaycie Hudson (12th).
Patrylak was pleased with what he saw from the Tigers’ girls squad.
“Obviously we had a solid contribution from all of the ladies. They did a great job of not settling and moving up throughout the race,” Patrylak said. “Special congratulations to Abby Korak, who became just the third girl in EHS history to break 18 minutes for three miles, and the first to do it anywhere besides Detweiler Park in Peoria. Her time of 17:48 is technically a school record.”
Waterloo placed second with 75 points followed by O’Fallon (91) and Triad (147), which rounded out the top four teams. Waterloo sophomore Rachel Patterson placed fifth, while O’Fallon’s top effort came from sophomore Brooke Witzel, who was seventh.