Junior high runners qualify for state

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From left are Waterloo Junior High School cross country runners Kamryn Rader, Ava Rau, Calla Espenschied, Cameron Crump, Macy Jones and Norah Kettler with their regional title plaque. Not pictured is Morgan Springer.

The Waterloo Junior High School and Immaculate Conception School cross country programs each took home hardware from regional meets last week.

Both will attempt to win more at state this Friday.

WJHS hosted a Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association Class L regional meet Thursday, with the Bulldogs boys and girls teams each placing first.

“Before this year, there had never been an SIJHSAA regional meet,” WJHS head coach Taylor Sebestik explained. “In years past, all participating schools attended the state meet resulting in several hundred runners on one starting line and 30 or so teams competing. The idea of trimming down the size of the race by instituting a regional qualifier had been discussed in the past, so this year they decided to give it a trial run given all the restrictions in place with respect to group gatherings.”

The WJHS girls won in dominating fashion, securing the first five places with  winner Cameron Crump and fifth place finisher Calla Espenschied separated by less than a minute. Kamryn Rader placed second, Ava Rau placed third and Macy Jones finished fourth.  

The WJHS boys edged Millstadt by four points. Waterloo’s Trent Glaenzer placed second overall, followed by teammates Wyatt Nolte in fifth, Cole Ludwig in sixth, Zach Bonenberger in ninth and Luke Warden in 10th place. 

Nolte and Ludwig are sixth graders.

“I’m very happy that we get to take both full teams to the state meet,” Sebestik said.

WJHS will run in the SIJHSAA Class L state meet in Du Quoin on Friday. 

This past Friday, ICS ran at the SIJHSAA Class S Marissa Regional. The girls won the team title, edging Steeleville by three points. The boys qualified one runner for state.

Pictured is Immaculate Conception School cross country runner Will Dalpoas, who qualified for state. 

The ICS girls were led by Rina Baker, who started the race conservatively and steadily moved up the field to finish second overall. Just behind Baker were teammates Isabel Roche in sixth place and Lillian Braun in 10th.

“All three of ICS’ top (girls) runners are in fifth grade and just starting their journey in cross country,” ICS head coach Michael Braun said.

Naomi Langhans placed 12th, Caroline Roche placed 15th, Sophie Conrad placed 16th and Genevieve Nadziejko placed 18th for the Crusaders.  

In the boys race, ICS placed second overall.  ICS was led by Will Dalpoas in sixth place. That qualified him for the SIJHSAA Class S state meet taking place in Du Quoin this Friday.

Other top runners for the ICS boys were Max Keeven in 10th, Luke Dalpoas in 11th, Xavier Voegele in 12th, Lucas Sheehan in 13th and Riley McGill in 14th.  

Marissa won the team title, with ICS in second.

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