The trophy case at Freeburg High School became a little more congested on Saturday after the Midgets history-making performance at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Junior Charlie Parrish covered the famed three-mile Detweiller Park course in 15 minutes 24 seconds to place 13th while teammate Alex Mack placed 16th as Freeburg earned the second place trophy at the Class 1A Boys State Cross Country Championship.
Ranked first in the state in the Class 1A poll for most of the season, Freeburg finished with 116 points — nine more than state champion (Elgin) Harvest Christian Academy — but used the all-state efforts of Parrish and Mack — along with three other runners who recorded times of 16 minutes 14 seconds or better, as they earned the first cross country trophy in school history.
Following the race, the Midgets, coaches and dozens of parents, students and fans who made the 180-mile trip north, gathered at the back end of the facility, anxiously awaiting the final results. After finding out they had placed second, a few tears were shed for numerous reasons.
“Words can’t express how proud I am of not only the boys team but the girls team which placed eighth today. They went out and gave it everything they had. As a coach, that’s all I can ask. It’s all anybody can ask,” Midgets coach Carl Florczyk said. “I’m sure there was some disappointment from some of the kids. But one we get to the awards ceremony, get the trophy and the all-state medals, I’m sure the kids will realize what they did today.
“It was a great accomplishment by both the boys and girls,. I’m sure their families, school and the entire community is very proud of them.”
Drew Wilkerson placed 33rd, Corbin Schwable was 63rd overall and Craig Collier was 76th overall for Freeburg, whose best finish in the state finals was fifth.
The day turned out to be even better for Parrish and Mack, who after barely missing all-state medals last year, placed 13th and 16th this season. Nashville’s Brandon Schnitker also earned all state honors — placing 14th on Saturday.
Mack’s time of 15:28 was a personal best by 10 seconds.
“We wanted to win. But we did our best. We’re going home with a trophy and I just think the world of all the guys on this team,” Mack said. “Being a senior, this was a good way to — go out. I almost medaled last year and to end my career with a medal this year... I’m pleased.”
Mater Dei placed 23rd in the team competition and was led by Kevin Medlen, who placed 99th overall.
Chandler earns state medal
Freeburg freshman Breanna Chandler’s first trip to Detweiller Park proved to be a successful one as she earned the 25th and final all-state medal as she led Freeburg to an eighth-place finish.
Chandler’s time over the three mile course — 18 minutes 15 seconds — led the way for the Midgets who placed eighth with 282 points. Mater Dei was ninth with 283 points.
Chandler said she got out fast and just tried to keep a steady pace throughout.
“The race was fast. Like I thought it would be,” the soft-spoken Midgets runner said. “My goal was to place in the top 25 and I did that. I’m tired and sore, but I feel good.”
Ashley Gilmore was 66th and Kristen Collier placed 87th to round out the top three runners for Freeburg.
Mater Dei’s ninth place finish was paced by Elyse Faust who placed 33rd while Sophia Lager was 64th and Faith Rackers was 86th.. Mater Dei coach David Kohnen was pleased by what he saw.
“I don’t know if we beat Freeburg or not, but it doesn’t matter. We went out and ran great today,” Kohnen said. “I was so pleased. This has been a great set of girls to work with.”
Althoff sophomore Tiffani Siekmann placed 73rd in 19 minutes 12 seconds while Governor French Academy senior Sarozjani Hunter was 86th in 19:34
Schwartz, an all-stater again
Waterloo sophomore Jenna Schwartz covered the Detweiller Park course in 17 minutes 22 seconds as she placed sixth in the Class 2A girls race on Saturday.
Making her second straight trip to the state finals after earning all-state honors by placing 24th last year, Schwartz’ time was just 47 seonds slower than state champion Jenna Letzkow of Belvidere North who finished in 16:35.
With Schwartz leading the way, Waterloo placed 13th in the team competition. Sydney Haddick (87th) and Ella King (99th) rounded out the Bulldogs top three runners. The Bulldogs finished with 363 points.
Mascoutah, which placed 21st with 583 points, was led by Melanie Cozzi who was 81st and Arianna Climaco who placed 105th.
In the Class 2A boys race, Jerseyville senior Ben Flowers is an all state runner for the second straight after placing seventh in the competition with a time of 14:43.
The Belleville News-Democrat Class 2A runner of the year in ‘15, Mascoutah senior Ethan Price earned an all-state medal, placing 14th in the Class 2A race in 14:54.
Edwardsville leads the way in Class 3A
Edwardsville junior Frankie Romano covered the three mile course in 15 minutes 22 seconds to place 90th overall while teammate Roland Prenzler was 100th as the Tigers placed 19th in the boys Class 3A race.
O’Fallon was 21st and led by Chris Conrad who was 49th in 15:02. Sophomore Will VanAlstine was the Panthers No. 2 runner and 104th overall.
Granite City sophomore Will O’Keefe was 69th.
In the girls race, Edwardsville was 16th and O’Fallon was 21st.
The Tigers were led by Abby Schrobilgen who was 66th overall and Melissa Spencer who placed 80th overall.
For O’Fallon, junior Brooke Witzel was just eight spots out of being an all-state runner, placing 33rd overall. Panthers freshman Kaitlyn Walker was 97th