HARRISBURG — Youth was served at the Chuck Ingram Cross Country Invitational held at Southeastern Illinois College on Wednesday.
Mount Vernon sophomore Trey Mygatt won the boys’ race in 18:05.22, some 15 seconds ahead of teammate Cademon Cook. Herrin's Ellary Blakey took first in the girls race, finishing the new SIC course in 22:43.7, nearly a half a minute ahead of Vienna’s Katie King.
Coincidentally, neither Mount Vernon nor Herrin fielded a complete team in those respective races. Even more coincidentally, Herrin placed first in the boys race with 55 points while Carmi was second at 68. Mount Vernon won the girls race with 23 points, easily topping Gallatin County with 53.
In the boys’ race, Mygatt got out to a quick start and maintained the lead.
“I like running my first mile a little fast just because I know I can stick to it in two and three,” he said. “That’s just the way I race, I don’t think anything about it really.”
Although Mygatt had a comfortable lead down the stretch, he was clearly spent after the race.
“It’s a little warm,” he said. “It didn’t help it was a little wet in places. It’s a little more hilly than Peoria (site of the state championship race) was, a lot of ups and downs.”
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As for his winning time, it’s difficult to compare to other races because of the nature of the course.
“I’m never satisfied,” Mygatt said. “I always strive to do a little more.”
Blakey ran a similar race, taking the lead about a mile in and enjoying a comfortable lead down the stretch. It was her second win of the year, as she is trying to get a grasp on her racing philosophy.
“I haven’t figured that out yet,” Blakey said. “It’s my first year of running a three-mile race. I went out fast a couple times, but sometimes I crashed. I didn’t go out that quick, I went out at about a 6:50 pace.
“I didn’t expect Mount Vernon to all go out at first. I’ve raced Mount Vernon before and they didn’t get out that fast. It was fun having someone in front of me. It gives me something to go for.”
Like Mygatt, she found the course challenging. The girls ran after the boys, and Blakey nearly lost her footing about a half-mile from the finish line.
“It’s a pretty fun course, the footing is not that great though,” she said. “The main field here is pretty uneven ground. As long as you’re looking where you’re going, you’re going to be OK.”