10 Springfield-area cross country runners to watch at the IHSA state meet
The 2021 fall high school sports calendar gets another step closer to its conclusion Saturday with the Illinois High School Association’s cross country state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria.
Several Springfield-area runners continued their season-long success with continued excellence in the sectional rounds, including Lincoln’s sophomore Class 2A Decatur MacArthur girls’ individual champion, Bella Heitzig while Chatham Glenwood won the girls’ team sectional title.
The six state meet races begin at 9 a.m. with the Class 1A girls race, followed by the 1A boys race at 10, the Class 2A girls race at 11, the 2A boys at noon, the 3A girls at 1 p.m. and wraps up with the 3A boys meet at 2 p.m. The State Journal-Register's coverage area doesn’t include a team or individual entry in either 3A race.
Here’s a look at some of the key figures headed to Peoria from the local area.
NIA GIBSON, Chatham Glenwood
This will be the final race of her high school career a week after guiding the Titans to the team championship with a third-place finish at sectionals, which followed a third-place showing at regionals. Her teammate and fellow senior, Emma Leahy, had a seventh-place finish at sectionals.
BECCA HEITZIG, Lincoln
She won the 2A Jacksonville Regional by 30 seconds then grabbed the MacArthur Sectional title with a gap of 54.13 seconds to the runner-up. She placed 14th in the July “Detweiller in the Dark” race in 19:05.0.
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MADELINE KIM, Springfield High
Despite the increased competition at the sectional level, she only lost one place in the individual results from regional to sectional (eighth to ninth) and was less than a second shy of keeping her eighth-place finish.
VIVIAN RAHMEL, Sacred Heart-Griffin
The junior had the Cyclones’ top individual finish at sectionals to help SHG grab second place at the Class 1A Elmwood Sectional to send the entire Cyclones’ nine-runner contingent. Rahmel was solidly seventh at sectionals after capturing the Liberty Regional crown.
LOUISA WILSON, Williamsville
The Bullets had a banner day at the Class 1A Farmington Regional as Wilson won the individual title to help Williamsville capture the team championship. Wilson once again won the Elmwood Sectional and helped the Bullets to a sixth-place finish and a team qualification at the state meet.
DANIEL GIACOMINI, Williamsville
The junior was third among individuals at the 1A Farmington Regional then placed 18th at the Elmwood Sectional to advance to the state meet.
BRENDEN HEITZIG, Lincoln
The brother in the brother-sister Heitzig duo in the Railsplitters’ cross country program was second in the 2A sectional in Decatur after winning the Jacksonville regional. He is the lone Railers’ representative on the boys’ side.
MATTHEW JOHNSON, Springfield High
The Senators’ senior finished 14th overall and with a strong finish by his teammates, Springfield High claimed second place in the 2A MacArthur team standings with five placers in the top-35 runners.
OWEN MORGAN, Taylorville
The sophomore has continued the strong individual running performances of The State Journal-Register's two-time cross country runner of the year Chris Cherry with a fifth-place run at the 2A Jacksonville Regional and a 17th-place finish at the MacArthur Sectional.
CAMDEN QUARTON, Litchfield
The sophomore runner followed up a win at the 1A Belleville Althoff Regional with a sixth-place showing last week in the 1A Trenton Wesclin Sectional.
Contact Ryan Mahan: 857-246-9756, email@example.com, Twitter.com/RyanMahanSJR.