Cross country team hoping for strong year
The Carlinville cross country team is coming off a solid year under then first-year head coach Charlie Helton. This year, the Cavaliers have even bigger goals in mind.
Aided by three state returnees, the Cavaliers want to bring even more to state this year.
Already, the pace is being set as a large number of athletes, 24 in all, have come out for the team, 12 boys and 12 girls.
Helton, starting his second season, hopes to turn those numbers into quality runs by the time postseason approaches in late October.
“We had a very successful season last year,” Helton said. “Three athletes qualified for the state cross country meet and our goal this year is to get two full teams to qualify for the state finals.”
Two of the three juniors who qualified last year medaled at state. That includes Colleen Madden, a senior, who finished 22nd at 18:23. Cory Landon, another senior, finished 23rd at state in 15:29. The other state qualifier was Jacey Roper, another senior, who was 54th at 19:10.
Roper, Madden, Landon and fellow senior Nolan Kreipe have been named captains for this year’s squad.
“All of the captains in junior high or high school have gotten a state medal at one time or another in cross country,” Helton said. “This could be the best season in a long time for Carlinville cross country. It’s loaded with talent and just good people and it’s so much fun.”
Most of them also participated in track and field last spring.
Helton also was quick to point out the help that B.J. Vinyard, the Carlinville Middle School cross country coach, has meant to the program.
“He’s laid a great foundation,” Helton said. “You look at these kids, I’m sure he’s coached almost all of them. He’s been a great role model for these kids.”
Other team members on the boys side include Harry Frye, Xavier Lewis, Charles Helton IV, Samuel Mock, Bailey Lippold, Grayson Armour, Keith Frye, Jack Kufa, Jason Landon, Jacob Landon, Seth Evans.
Girls team members include Stasia Nejmanowski, Kamryn Bremer, Molly Lewis, Rachel Strubbe, Roper, Mackenzie Harris, Bailey Cox, Ryleigh Gibbel, Madelynn Williams, Justice Brock and Abby Fleischer.
Litchfield and Piasa Southwestern have some good athletes returning in the conference Helton said of the conference competition.
The first meet is one of two home meets at Loveless Park on Tuesday, Sept. 1. It is the Carlinville Early Meet, with a middle school co-ed race which starts at 4:15 p.m. Participating schools include Litchfield, Alton Marquette, Williamsville, North Greene, Staunton, Greenville, Jersey, Rochester, Auburn, Carrollton, Roxana and Bunker Hill Junior High.
The team will then have various invitationals the next six Saturdays at locations throughout the central part of the state.
The Carlinville Invitational is Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 4:15 with the middle school co-ed, boys and girls races.
The South Central Conference meet in Brighton is slated for Monday, Oct. 19 in Brighton at 4:30 p.m. Regional competition is Oct. 24, Sectionals Oct. 31 and the state finals in Peoria on Nov. 7.