The Chester Grade School Jr. Jackets cross country teams closed out the 2020 season Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA) Waterloo Regional Meet at Roger's Elementary School.
The event featured teams from Chester, Millstadt, Nashville, Smithton, Sparta, and Waterloo. Awards were presented to the first-place team and to the top 10 individuals. The top two teams advance to the state meet, as do the top five remaining individual runners.
The girls race featured 31 runners in the 1.86-mile race.
Waterloo literally ran away with the 2020 team title with the top five finishers and the winning score of 15. Cameron Crump was the individual champion, finishing first with a time of 12:18. Rounding out the top five were Waterloo's Kamryn Rader (second, 12:44); Ava Rau (third, 12:53); Macy Jones (fourth, 12:53) and Calla Espenschied (fifth, 13:06).
Millstadt captured second with a total of 45 points, and was led by Lucy Senzyn (sixth, 13:09). Other Millstadt runners were Sylvi Seqraves (eighth, 13:14); Mylee Davis (eighth, 13:14); Ella Dube (11th, 13:25); and Sydnei Ray (15th, 14:14).
Smithton placed third with 72 points, paced by Jordyn Spanley (13:18), followed by Avery O'Connor (14th, 14:11); Herdi Parke (16th, 14:20); Abby Sherman (17th, 14:22); and Clara Carter (20th, 14:32).
Chester Grade School had the final team score of 114 points for fourth place. The Lady Jr. Jackets were led by Adelynn May, who placed 19th (14:24). Anna Menefee placed 23rd with 15:28, followed by Joshlyn Rhoden in 24th (15:32), Jessica Stumpe in 28th (16:32) and MacKenzie Deimund in 29th (16:41). No Lady Jr. Jackets qualified to advance to the IJHSAA state meet at Marion.
Sparta had just three runners. Elise Hamilton placed seventh with a time of 13:13. Abby Hernandez placed 26th (15:48) and Ruth Pillers finished 27th (16:28). The other two independent runners were Jessica Malone (30th, 18:50) and Josey Lupachini (31st, 24:28) from Nashville.
The entire Waterloo and Millstadt teams will advance to the state meet. After taking the Waterloo and Millstadt runners out of the qualified pool, the remaining top five individual runners also move on to state. This group includes Elise Hamilton of Sparta (seventh, 13:13); Jordyn Spanley of Smithton (10th, 13:18); Avery O'Connor of Smithton (14th, 14:11); Herdi Parke of Smithton (16th, 14:17); and Abby Sherman of Smithton (17th, 14:20).
The boys division featured 36 runners, with seven runners each from Chester, Smithton, Millstadt, and Waterloo; six runners from Sparta and two runners from Nashville.
The Chester Grade School boys finished fourth with a team score of 113 points. The Jr. Jackets were led by eighth-grader Lincoln Schroeder, who finished 19th with a time of 13:17. Zane Eggemeyer, a sixth-grader, was the second CGS runner to finish. He finished 23rd overall with a time of 14:32.
Chester's Gavin Wilderman, a seventh-grader, finished third for the Jr. Jackets in 24th (14:36). Sixth-grader Jack Kennedy (14:37) finished 26th, followed two seconds later by seventh-grader Drew Wilderman (27th, 14:39).
Eighth-grader Will Welge closed out his grade school cross country running career in 34th (17:00). Finally, TaShawn Palacico, a sixth-grader, finished 35th (17:19).
The Jr. Jackets had a fun and exciting season and improved throughout the year. A very young team with only two eighth-graders, the Jr. Jackets demonstrated that they could compete and even brought home awards from several meets.
"I am very proud of all of my runners this year," said head coach Jenny Cartwright. "We were very young and faced several injuries throughout the season, but we continued to improve and worked very hard all season. We had fun and enjoyed working both as individuals and as a team."
Waterloo was the 2020 Regional Champion. They were led by Trent Glaenzer, who finished second overall (11:40). Other members of the championship team were Wyatt Nolte (fifth, 12:19); Cole Ludwig (sixth, 12:21); Zach Rosenberger (ninth, 12:29); Luke Warden (10th, 12:30); Jeremy Warden (12th, 13:00); and Tyler DeVilder (13th, 13:02).
There was only a four-point difference between first-place Waterloo and second-place Millstadt, who had 36 points to Waterloo's 32. Millstadt was led by Easton Blair (11:46) and Max Eiskant (12:14), who placed third and fourth respectively.
Smithton placed third with 60 points and was led by the overall winner of the meet Zach Duffie, who was first across the finish line in 11:31. Teammate Brady Marshall finished 11th overall and qualified to advance to state with his time of 12:45.
The Jr. Jackets placed fourth with 113 points, followed by Sparta in 5th with 144 points. Sparta's lead runner was Aiden Hernandez, who finished 28th overall (14:45).
Nashville only had two runners: Brayden Donato (22nd, 14:14) and Brody Schatz (25th, 14:36).
The top five individuals qualifying for state are Zach Duffie from Smithton, Brady Marshall of Smithton, Gage Lange of Smithton, Evan Renneker of Smithton, and Austin Barick of Smithton.
Cartwright said: "I am very proud of all of our runners. Even though we did not have anyone qualify for the state meet, we worked hard, improved every meet throughout the year and just missed having one boy and one girl qualify to advance to state in both races.
"We will miss our two eighth-graders, Lincoln Schroeder and Will Welge. Both have done well this year. All of our other runners will return next fall, so we have the opportunity to really be good once our young sixth- and seventh-graders mature and get stronger. I look forward to having them all back in 2021."