High school cross country season is underway as runners pace themselves for hopefully faster finishes down the stretch.
The Columbia High School boys and girls cross country teams competed Saturday in the Mascoutah Kickoff. Both teams placed fourth overall.
Other competing schools were Mascoutah, Freeburg and Mater Dei.
The Columbia boys were led by Thomas Crossley, who placed ninth overall with a finish time of 17:26. Carson Mueth placed 18th with a time of 18:48 for the Eagles.
Other runners for the CHS boys this season are Joe Caya, Lucas Cole, Sam Donovan, Dominic Dalpoas, Peter Livingstone and Calvin Range.
The Columbia girls were led by Madison Missey’s third place finish at 20:38. Brooklyn Oestreich placed 15th overall at 22:53.
Other runners for the CHS girls this season are Izabela Barker, Alycie Caya, Grace Crossley, Ainsley Jacobus and Amy Velnosky.
The Waterloo High School cross country program is young but eager to make an immediate impact, head coach Larry Huffman said.
“The boys team is entirely sophomores and freshmen eager to work hard,” Huffman said. “On the girls side, we are also young.”
Huffman said sophomore Joe Schwartz has had a great summer of putting in miles and will be someone to watch.
Other runners on the boys team are sophomore Morgan Stratton, freshmen Ethan Schimpf, Justin Witt and Mitch Baldwin, and sophomores Ian Huebner and Ben Murphy.
For the Waterloo girls, the top three runners are freshmen Ali Kloeppel, Angelynn Kanyuck and Danielle Mudd.
“They will be quite competitive with the top runners in the area,” Huffman said.
Emma Rick, a senior, will serve as the experienced team leader that the team looks up to, Huffman said.
Other runners fighting for varsity spots for the girls will be freshman Chloe Aubuschon, senior Megan Vogt, sophomore Molly Grohmann, senior Laurin Lunk, sophomore London Barringer and freshman Amelia Stellhorn.
Waterloo opens its season Saturday in Granite City.
The Valmeyer High School cross country program has head coach Amber Stewart at the helm for her 10th season.
For the Valmeyer boys, Trent Hooker, Matthew Espinoza, Uli Espinoza and Parker Reeves all return from last season. Harrison Miller, Elijah Miller and Thomas Phillips are newcomers to the team.
“Trent was my top runner from last year but Harrison and Elijah are looking extremely strong,” Stewart said.
For the Valmeyer girls, seniors Katie and Megan Morwick are the only returning runners from last season. They are joined by freshmen Peyton Vest and Lilly Turner.
“Peyton is a natural runner and will be one to watch,” Stewart said.
Valmeyer opens its season Tuesday.
The Dupo High School cross country program has a mix of youth and experience.
“This summer dealing with COVID has left us a little behind on conditioning, but they have been working hard to get back in running shape,” Dupo head coach Kevin Acra said.
For the Dupo boys, seniors Juan Rivas and Keyonte Scarbrough return to the team and senior Jacob Taylor – a football player– is running for the first time.
“(Jacob) played football last year but since it has moved to the spring, it has given him the opportunity to join us this year,” Acra said.
Jacob’s brother, sophomore Peter Taylor, is “running strong has a bright future,” according to the coach.
For the Dupo girls, junior Sarah Vanover returns. She has qualified for the sectional each of the last two years and should be one of the leading runners again this season for the Tigers.
Allyson Ellis, a senior, had injuries last year which held her back, Acra said, but is expected to return to form this fall.
Page Mushaney, a freshman, has been working hard and “hopefully she can join the challenge for our top runner,” Acra said.
Dupo opens its season Wednesday at Granite City.