Geneseo’s William Plumley was just over a second away from qualifying for the boys’ cross country state finals.

Geneseo’s William Plumley was just over a second away from qualifying for the boys’ cross country state finals.

A sophomore, Plumley had an outstanding finish crossing the finish line in 18th place in 16:16.8 at the Class 2A East Peoria Sectional.

“Every year is going to be different,” Geneseo Coach Todd Ehlert said. “There have been years where kids have finished 14th and been left out, and years where they are down to 24th or 25th and get in. We knew we were on the bubble with it. We didn’t know how the team scores were going to turn out, but he ran phenomenal”

However, East Peoria’s Keaton Vandel claimed the final individual qualifying spot with a 17th place finish in 16:15.61 held at Illinois Central College on Oct. 27.

With the top five teams advancing, Geneseo finished in eighth (204) with Metamora earning the sectional title among a 12-team field.

Ehlert said it was a narrow margin and if the fifth and sixth place teams flip-flopped Plumley would have advanced to state individually.

A senior, Geneseo’s Andrew Rizzo had a dynamic final race finishing 41st in 16:48.6.

“We were all excited for him,” Ehlert said. “It was nice to have a senior step up like that and be a leader.”

The Maple Leafs’ Justin Johnson ran down a 43rd place in 16:49.7, and Colby Rapps finished 48th in 16:56.0.

Geneseo’s Rafe Morrison raced to a 54th place finish in 17:06.04, and Lucas Nicke finished 57th in 17:10.1.

The Leafs’ Neo Colter came in 65th place in 17:18.3.

With just one senior among the Maple Leafs’ top 10 runners this season, Ehlert believes the program will continue to grow stronger with a strong junior class and promising underclassmen returning next season.

“It’s hard to break into the top 10,” Ehlert said. “But we had a ton of kids who are coming on strong and developing and maturing.”