WJHS girls cross country wins state

Pictured, from left, are WJHS cross country runners Kamryn Rader, Ava Rau and Morgan Springer during the regional meet. 

Make it a three-peat for the Waterloo Junior High School girls cross country team.

The Bulldogs won the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association Class L state title at Du Quoin on Saturday, marking the team’s third straight state title. 

The WJHS girls runners have done nothing but win under head coach Taylor Sebestik.

“The girls cross country team hasn’t lost a meet in those three seasons.  That would include the 2019 track season. We didn’t have a 2020 track season,” he said. 

Cameron Crump led the pack for the Bulldogs by placing second despite a fall.

“She fell in the mud in the woods about a quarter mile from the finish, which sealed her fate as the runner-up,” Sebestik said.  

Other runners for WJHS at state were Ava Rau (seventh), Kamryn Rader (10th) Macy Jones (29th), Norah Kettler (37th), Morgan Springer (39th) and Calla Espenschied (61st).

Crump, Rau and Rader are eighth graders. 

When the team arrived in Du Quoin, it was nearly 80 degrees. Within the hour, the weather changed drastically and teams were forced to board their buses as a thunderstorm rolled through, Sebestik said. 

“A serious downpour on an already soft saturated ground made the course very interesting and challenging for our runners.  Add to that, the temps dropped to the low 50s and the winds were howling!  Easily the most challenging conditions of the season.  Fortunately, the rain rolled through and we were able to get races started with a short delay,” he said. 

The WJHS boys team placed seventh at state despite only having one eighth grader. The boys were led by Trent Glaenzer (30th) and Wyatt Nolte (31st).  The lone eighth grader, Luke Warden, placed 43rd, followed by Zach Bonenberger (50th), Cole Ludwig (56th), Jeremy Warden (61st) and Tyler DeVilder (63rd).

“Our boys team is young.  We only had one eighth grader on our varsity squad with three seventh graders and three sixth graders, so that’s promising for next year,” Sebestik said.

In the SIJHSAA Class S girls race, Immaculate Conception School of Columbia placed sixth. The Crusaders were led by Isabel Roche, who placed 40th.

In the SIJHSAA Class S boys race, ICS runner Will Dalpoas placed 84th overall.

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