DECATUR — Carbondale’s Alex Partlow repeated as Class 2A sectional boys cross country champion Saturday, splashing over a wet course in 14:57.02 to finish more than a minute ahead of second place Brenden Heitzig of Lincoln.
Marion also punched a ticket for next Saturday’s state meet in Peoria by finishing third with 174 points, trailing only first place Mahomet-Seymour and Springfield. Mount Vernon and Carbondale placed ninth and 13th. Only the top seven teams made it to Peoria.
On the girls side, Carbondale senior Anna Schurz and Herrin freshman Ellary Blakey earned trips to Peoria by finishing in the top 10 among entrants whose teams didn’t make it to state. Schurz ran 20:01.08 for a 15th-place showing and Blakey clocked 20:13.69 to finish 23rd.
Chatham Glenwood ran off and hid in the team standings, putting five runners in the top 21 and recording only 54 points. Mascoutah was a distant second with 116 points. Carbondale finished 16th in the 18-team field.
It was a clean sweep for the Benton boys at the Trenton Wesclin Sectional. Not only did they finish first with 68 points, sophomore Gavin Genesio emerged as the individual champ with a time of 15:13.24, comfortably ahead of Pinckneyville sophomore Isaac Teel (15:38.97).
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The Rangers wound up with four runners in the top 26, which more than offset the fact that the Panthers also had the third-place finisher in senior Dylan Bledsoe. Steeleville placed third in the team standings, followed by Freeburg, Litchfield and Breese Mater Dei. The top six teams in 1A earned trips to Peoria.
Individuals who advanced to next week’s state finals included the Du Quoin duo of Landon Swiney and Nathan Smith, Nashville’s Brayden Hunter and Carterville’s Sean Taylor.
In the girls’ race, Pope County sophomore Ahry Comer won the sectional title with a clocking of 18:30.41, more than 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Olivia Phillips of Du Quoin. But Phillips and her Indian teammates cruised to the team title with a team score of 77, 46 points fewer than Pinckneyville.
Hamilton County’s Maddie Karcher placed fourth, but her team finished just one point out of sixth, keeping the Foxes out of the state meet. Other individual qualifiers included the Murphysboro duo of Miah and Kayden Gilmore, Carterville freshman Molly Robertson, Nashville’s Olivia Verges and Benton senior Jacey Eubanks.
Detwiler Park is the host site for next Saturday’s state meet.