DU QUOIN — Du Quoin junior Olivia Phillips won her team-record seventh straight race to lead the Lady Indians to their third straight SIRR Mississippi Division title, while Pinckneyville freshman Issac Teel led the Panthers to their second straight title Thursday on the Du Quoin State Fair Grounds course.
“I guess it is our second in a row, but I hadn’t really thought about that since I was just thinking about today,” said Pinckneyville coach Ryan Bruns. “We had another good day after having a good day last year at Harrisburg.”
Phillips snapped former teammate Gabby Alongi’s record set in 2018 by 35.1 seconds with a time of 19:16.2 to break her previous season home course low time by 43.6 seconds.
“It’s absolutely fantastic and I’m honestly speechless,” Phillips said. “The record really didn’t come to my mind until the sixth win last week when I thought ‘now I really have a shot at this’ and today I was a little nervous. It was me and Lauren (Heape) at first until the first straightaway when Taylor Kurtz let out, so we just laid back. We then picked it up after the first mile because we knew not to kill ourselves in that first mile because if you do that it’s going to be a rough race.”
The Lady Indians swept the top three spots with junior Heape taking second (19:51.3) for the fifth time this season to earn all-conference for the second time and senior Jacqueline Crain third (19:59.7) for the fourth time this season to earn her third straight all-conference honor.
Pinckneyville junior Ashlee Hirsch snapped the run to finish fourth (20:17.6) before the Lady Indians got back on track with junior Alexis George hitting the chute in fifth (20:21.1) to give Du Quoin four of the first five runners. For George, it was her first all-conference honor.
Freshman Kallie Oestreicher finished 10th (20:44.9) to earn her first all-conference honor, edging her teammate Lainey Miller by 0.7 seconds and giving the Lady Indians five of the 10 spots.
Du Quoin won the team title over Pinckneyville by 22 points (21-43), with Nashville third (89), Anna-Jonesboro fourth (103) and Carterville fifth (117).
“Winning three in a row wasn’t a deal coming in, but I’m pretty happy about that,” said Du Quoin coach Eric Kirkpatrick. “We had 1-2-3-5 and two freshmen go 10 and 11. Lainey was a back-and-forth decision whether to run her varsity and she was in ninth with about 400 meters to go, so I thought she was going to end up all-conference. Both the freshmen ran a great race.”
Teel won his sixth race out of eight this season by 13.2 seconds over Du Quoin junior Landen Swiney with a time of 15.42.5.
“I was a little bit worried today that (Landen) would catch me at the end, so I just kept going,” Teel said. “The first mile I tried to get out fast because that’s how I did the last time we ran here and it ended up doing pretty good for me. I just tried to run the first mile as quick as I could and the last two miles I didn’t want to fall too far off my pace. I didn’t maintain as well as I would have wanted to, but like most people, I want to do better.”
The Panthers successfully defended their title by taking five of the seven top spots to beat second place Du Quoin by 50 points (20-70). Anna-Jonesboro finished third (77), Nashville fourth (86) and Carterville fifth (109).
“There were no surprises, but we talk about challenges that we lay down,” Bruns said. “We’ve been able to get most of our challenges throughout the year and it was a good one today. We had to go to well pretty deep to get that today. I’m pretty ecstatic for the boys.”
Pinckneyville swept the next three spots with senior Steven Hirte finishing third (16:26.9) for the second straight year to earn his third straight all-conference honor, junior Dylan Bledsoe fourth (16:48.0) to earn his first all-conference honor, and senior Daniel Garavaglia fifth (16:49.0) also for the second straight year.
After Nashville’s Ray Habeck finished sixth (16:57.7), sophomore Dawson Chaney finished seventh (16:58.6) to be named all-conference for the second straight season and senior Daniel Wagner 10th (17:03.4) to earn his first and give the Panthers six all-conference runners this year compared to four last year and two in 2018.
“The challenge was to get six on the all-conference team and it was going to take a heck of a race and they figured it out,” Bruns said. “It took the final stretch to get No. 6 in. Our seventh runner (Holden Clark) finished 12th.”
Anna-Jonesboro’s Jayden Perez (17:00.9) and Beto Diaz (12:01.9) finished eighth and ninth to also earn all-conference honors.
Sparta's team is in quarantine this week and wasn't able to attend the conference championships.
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