GEARY DENISTON For the South
HERRIN — Herrin placed four riders in the top nine and five in the top 16 to win the boys’ division while Du Quoin placed four in the top eight and five in the top 15 to barely edge Carterville in the girls’ division of the Herrin Invitational raced at the City Park course on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was a good race for us,” Herrin’s trainer Dusty Mallow said. “In fact, we did better than we thought today. The whole team performed well from top to bottom.
Harrisburg senior Luke Winkleman edged Herrin senior Braden Hudgens (16:20.4) by 4.8 seconds to win the men’s title with a personal best 16:15.6.
“I was fifth here last year so I was shooting for this range and then I was second last week at AJ so I was shooting for this,” Winkleman said. “I started off a little hot, but it was controlled. I was fifth or sixth on the mile and after the third mile I was third or fourth. I knew then that I could hit very well, so I tried to get into a good position. About 400 meters to go, I rushed and with 200 meters to go, I overtook him.
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Rounding out Herrin’s top five runners, second Waylan Hall was fifth (16:50.4), rookie Braden Davis seventh (17:18.9), senior Grant Ellet ninth (17:59.6) and rookie Maddox Burks 16th (18:54.4).
“We did a great team job today,” said Hudgens. “Today I was trying to run as evenly as possible. However, we came out a little fast on the first kilometer. With 300 meters to go, it really kicked in and I couldn’t quite equal that.
Cobden senior Brady Bundren was third (16:33.4) and second-placed Massac County student Jayden Miller was fourth (16:37.2) to round out the top five.
In the girls division, it was a close battle between Du Quoin and Carterville resulting in a four point difference between first and second place.
“We’re always looking to improve the girls’ times and winning is a by-product of that,” Du Quoin’s coach Eric Kirkpatrick said. “We were lucky to be in the lead today. Today was a good wake-up call. »
Carterville sophomore Molly Robertson edged the field of 39 to win the title by 24.9 seconds in a personal best time of 18:38.6 for her first victory of the season and only the second of her career in high school.
“I’ve never really been first before and today was hot and I had to get motivated – it was good,” Robertson said. “The game plan was not to go out too fast, to keep a good rhythm throughout and to attack at the end. I was a little behind after the first half mile, then went around the curve.
Herrin sophomore Ellary Blakey finished second (19:02.5) with Du Quoin sophomore Maggie Kellerman not far behind in third place (19:11.1).
“Maggie has a good kick at the end of the run and we’re trying to start a little earlier,” Kirkpatrick said. “She’s just getting used to being the No. 1 runner.”
After Marion rookie Kara Odum took fourth place (19:20.7), Du Quoin junior Claire Rose took fifth with 28.2 seconds with a time of 19:31.1 with the rookie from Carterville Dani Williamson in sixth place (19:59.3).
Du Quoin’s rookie Ava Gregory crossed the finish line in seventh place (20:33.8) and runner-up Issy Phillips came just behind in eighth (20:56.9). Du Quoin’s fifth runner, junior Lainey Miller, finished 15th (22:16.6) to give the Lady Indians 38 points.
After Salem sophomore Breanna Thurman was ninth (20:59.3), Carterville sophomore Marcela Wood rounded out the top 10 (21:53.1) with Anna Balaforth and Malia Williamson finishing 16th and 17th respectively.