The sensational season of Waterloo freshman Jenna Schwartz got a little better Saturday at Alhambra Fireman’s Park.
Schwartz started strong and then outkicked Triad senior Abigail Richter to the finish line as she captured the girls infividual title at the Class 2A Highland Cross Country Regional.
Already one of the top harriers in southern Illinois, Schwartz covered the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, 15 seconds, 19 seconds better than Richter, the 2014 News-Democrat Class 2A Runner of the Year.
While Richter didn’t win the individual title, she did team with Maddie Keller, who placed sixth, to help the Knights win the team championship. Triad finished with 72 points, beating Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland (75).
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Two other MVC schools, Mascoutah (85) and Waterloo (94), rounded out the top four teams, all of which will advance to the Decatur MacArthur Sectional on Saturday.
Highland was led by an eighth-place finish from SarahBeth Wiegman, while Mascoutah’s top runner was Mackenzie Dixon (ninth).
Carbondale (100) and Mount Vernon (115) also advanced.
In the boys race, Mount Vernon had five runners place in the top 15 as it nipped Cabondale (60-62) for the championship. Carbondale’s Atlantis Green was the individual champion, finishing in 15:32.
Mascoutah, getting a second-place finish from Ethan Price (15:52) and a 10th-place from Daniel Pearson, placed third with 67 points and will run in Decatur next weekend as will the Waterloo Bulldogs, who finished with 119 points.
Junior Jake Schwartz led Waterloo, placing ninth in 16:31.
Class 1A New Athens Regional
The Freeburg Midgets weren’t perfect Saturday but coach Carl Florczyk’s state-ranked teams were close at the Class 1A New Athens Regional.
Staking his claim as one of the top 10 runners in the state, sophomore Charlie Parrish posted an 11-second win over teammate Alex Mack as Freeburg romped to an easy win in the boys division.
Parrish covered the 3-mile course in 16:17, while Mack (16:28) was a clear runner-up and Carson Smith (17:07) and Blake Hatter (17:08) were fourth and fifth. Freeburg finished with 22 points to top Mater Dei (37).
The second-place Knights were led by Luke Goebel, who placed third overall in 16:54.
Also earning a trip to the Metro-East Lutheran Sectional on Saturday were Wood River (117 points), Metro-East Lutheran (136), Lebanon (139), New Athens (149) and Roxana (167).
Fourth-place Metro-East Lutheran was led by Javon Watkins (ninth), while Jaxen McNeese (sixth) led Lebanon. Ethan Ccokrell (19tth) paced host New Athens.
Althoff’s Danny Braunagel placed 28th to advance to sectional as an individual.
In the girls division, the Mater Dei Knights had five runners place in the top 10 as they stunned Freeburg for the team title.
Coach David Kohnen’s young but talented squad was led by freshman Elyse Faust, who was third. Junior Sophie Lager was fourth and senior Amy Krebs placed eighth.
Senior Abby Haag (ninth) and sophomore Malina Isaak was 10th for Mater Dei, which finished with 34 points, 12 fewer then Freeburg, which has been ranked in the top 15 for much of the season.
The Midgets were led by overall champion Ashley Gilmore, who covered the 3-mile course in 19:56, two seconds faster then Kryston Schifres of Roxana (19:58).
Kristen Collier placed fifth for Freeburg while sophomore Kayla Whitworth was seventh overall.
Roxana, led by Scifres was third in the team competition with 97 points, while Lebanon (102), Althoff (113), New Athens (148) and Dupo (173) also advanced to the Metro-East Lutheran Sectional.
Sophomore Madison Schoenfeld was 11th overall to lead Lebanon, while Tiffani Siekmann (16th) led fifth-place Althoff. Alayna Toedte (12th) led New Athens and Kailey Heusohn (21st) paced Dupo.
Class 1A Chester Regional
Winding down a brilliant high school career, Red Bud senior Keri Burmester covered the tough Randolph County Conservation Area course in 19:32 as she captured the Class 1A girls title at the Chester Regional.
In her next-to-last tuneup before heading to the Class 1A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Burmester looked to be in top form as she posted a 12-second win over Sophie Keith of Pinckneyville.
Carterville, with three runners placing in the top 10, breezed to the team title with 69 points, 21 fewer then runner-up Du Quoin (100). Okawville, getting a sixth-place finish from Mallory Unverfehrt, placed third with 105 points.
Nashville, led by a 10th-place finish from Brittnie Bartling, was fifth with 125 points, while Red Bud, led by Burmester, ended sixth with 133 points. The top seven teams and top five individuals not on those teams advanced to the Metro-East Lutheran Sectional at SIU Edwardsville on Saturday.
In the boys division, Pinckneyville and Nashville tied for the team title with 70 points, while Red Bud (114 points), Columbia (139) and Sparta (165) also earned spots in the sectional meet.
Nashville was led by Brandon Schnitker, who placed second behind Harrison Thomas of Carterville, led the way for the Hornets. Thomas finished the race in 15:57, while Schnitker’s time was 16:30.
Red Bud got a sixth-place finish nfrom Alex Becker (17:02), while Columbia was led by Kristian Avise Rouse, who was ninth in 17:12.