Repeat bronze: Williamsville, Lincoln runners pace Springfield runners at cross country state
Louisa Wilson claimed her second bronze at the Class 1A girls cross country state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday.
The Williamsville sophomore set a new personal record of 17 minutes, 27 seconds en route to third place behind Monticello’s Mabry Bruhn (17:08.43) and Sandwich’s Sundara Weber (17:26.38).
“(The rain made) it really, really hard and I could not see and half the time It was really blurry, and I was struggling to breath," Wilson said. "My heart hurt a little bit. During the last 400, I just had to keep going. I wanted to stop so many times, but I was like, ‘I can’t. I can’t.’"
Wilson previously claimed third place at last year’s state finals in 17:34.48. Earlier this season in October, she topped that time in 17:31.5.
It perhaps came with mixed feelings.
"I am (happy with how I ran today)," Wilson said. "I got a PR, but I was a little upset that I got third.”
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Pleasant Plains freshman Caroline Willenborg recorded the next best individual time in 18:52.70. That was good enough for 38th place.
The Cardinals finished eighth overall as a team. Senior Jaidynn Albers (19:12.22) followed in 52nd individually.
Senior Kaitlyn Lee (19:32.10) led Sacred Heart-Griffin at 64th.
Tolono Unity won the team title.
CLASS 2A GIRLS
Lincoln junior Becca Heitzig also garnered third place individually in the 2A girls race. She crossed the finish line in 17:51.89 behind Olney Richland County’s Tatum David (17:05.65) and Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge’s Ellie Schmidt (17:25.24).
“I was hoping to go out and stay with the (runners) in first and second a little longer than I did. … The footing on the ground was really bad because it was all muddy," Heitzig said. "That was a struggle during the race. I was hoping for second but top-3 was my goal, so it ended up going good.”
Heitzig previously chalked up 12th place at last year’s state finals in 17:43.43. Her older brother, Brenden, also cracked the top 10 in the 2A boys race.
"It’s pretty like surreal a little bit (to have my brother be successful too). … He’s just like my partner, so it’s cool having someone," Becca said of Brenden. "I’ll miss him next year not having him tell me all the running techniques and different things like that because that’s usually what he does.”
Rochester senior Colleen Zeibert climbed to 15th place in 18:29.45 while her sister, Ashley, was 42nd in 19:19.85. Fellow freshman Natalie Nichols managed 50th place in 19:23.98.
The Rockets earned sixth place in the team standings. Grayslake Central won the team title.
Freshman Ashlyn Chopra led Chatham Glenwood in 33rd place with a time of 19:12.34, followed by sophomore teammate Rachael Behrens in 19:16.44 for 36th place.
The Titans took ninth place as a team.
Senior Madeline Kim (19:26.92) led Springfield High at 56th.
CLASS 2A BOYS
Brenden soared to sixth place in 15:28.55.
“After seeing Becca get third, I really wanted third just to match her," Brenden said. "I went out and felt really good as the race went by but I was in a group of two other guys. When we got to the final stretch, it was super torn up and muddy and they got their feet off the ground faster than me.
“She always keeps me on my toes. She sets the bar high. It’s hard to try to follow but that’s the goal always.”
Marion’s Dylon Nalley coasted to first place in 14:44.62.
Senior Lleyton Turk led Glenwood with a time of 16:44.21 for 64th place. Taylorville junior Owen Morgan (16:54.80) settled with 83rd.
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CLASS 1A BOYS
Williamsville seniors Avery Glasgow (16:30.72) and Daniel Giacomini (16:35.69) led the area in the 1A boys race in 42nd and 49th place, respectively.
Senior teammate Nolan Bates reached 83rd in 16:58.71 before competing in the football team’s Class 3A second round game against Eureka later in the afternoon.
Litchfield’s Camden Quarton settled with 63rd place in 16:47.43.
Adam Duvall of the Journal Star contributed to this story.