John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — The Okaw Valley Conference cross country meet at the Shelby Trail was everything folks thought it would be.
Three top-ranked state teams competed head-to-head and were separated by just four points, while the premier individual runners did not disappoint.
Tolono Unity, Monticello, and Shelbyville vied for the conference title and Monticello claimed it by scoring just 45 points.
Tolono was 2nd with just 48 points, and Shelbyville was 3rd with 49 points. The rest of the teams were about 90 points back.
"This was as close as expected between #2 state ranked Monticello, #3 state ranked Unity and the #4 Rams," said Ram coach Kevin Kramer. "I thought we had a little bit of let down from last Saturday. We have not been real focused in practice this week and I think it showed. I am a big believer in you perform how you practice. So we will be getting back to, hopefully, a little more focused group. I didn't think we ran terrible, just not as good as we can. And to beat two of top three teams in the state you have to bring your A game. I thought we ran a solid B race."
Tuscola's Eric Ponder (15:00) led from start to finish and won by 14 seconds over Monticellos' top man, Matthew Norville (15:14). Tolono's #1, Andrew Warnes, was 3rd (15:35), out-sprinting Shelbyvile's Marcus Skinner (15:37), who was 4th.
Skinner's teammate Drennian Martin was 5th (15:42) and gave Shelby an early lead.
"Marcus Skinner led the way with an All-Conference performance. Marcus cut 38 seconds off of his earlier time at our invitational. He also was just under course record time of 15:38 set by Corbin Kakac of Fairfield at our invite. Drennian ran an All-Conference time, cutting 16 seconds off of his time from earlier.
Tolono, then Monticello had the next two runners in the chute.
Jaden Stockdale (15:52.11) crossed next in 8th place keeping Shelby in 1st with 17 points.
"Jaden ran one of his best times of the year in running for All-Conference honors," Coach Kramer said.
Monticello, then Tolono runners crossed. Monticello had 18 points and Tolono had 19 points.
After a Decatur St. T runner crossed, Monticello, then Tolono got their 4th men across. Monticello took the lead with 30 points and Tolono had 32 points.
Shelbyville's Kenton Wilson (16:13) crossed in 14th place giving Shelbyville 31 points and putting them in 2nd.
"Kenton ran 11 seconds off of his time earlier this year, just missing All-Conference honors, as he got out-kicked the last few yards for top twelve."
It came down to the 5th man. Monticello's 5th man crossed first in 15th place to cap their score at 45 points. Tolono's 5th man crossed next in 16th place, sprinting down the stretch, and capped their score at 48 points.
Shelby's fab freshman Tyler Pasley crossed next in 17th (16:38), capping the Ram score at 49 points.
"Tyler ran a decent race, 32 seconds faster than his time earlier this year."
Ethan Lehman of Sullivan-Okaw Valley crossed next in 18th to lead the Redskin squad (16:40).
Tolono's 6th and 7th men crossed next, showing they have the top 7 men in the conference. However, Monticello's top five was faster and gave them the OVC title.
Shelby's 6th man, Preston Henze (16:54) in 24th, beat Monticello's 6th man. But again, the first five is what counted.
"Preston Henze ran 37 seconds faster than earlier this year," Kramer said. "Preston has put together two pretty solid races. Hopefully he is done with injuries."
Freshman Hunter Plummer ran an 18:03 to finish 43rd. Erik Bowers ran a great time of 18:12 for 48th.
"Erik cut 35 seconds off of his time from our invite this year," Kramer said. "Isaak Spain cut his time of 20:17 earlier this year to a very good 18:29 cutting almost 2 minutes off for 50th place."
Josh Bernson ran a 19:05.
"Josh cut 36 seconds off of his time from earlier for 61st place," Kramer said. "Drake Manship ran a 19:39 for 72nd place. Drake cut 20 seconds off of his invitational time. Seth Durbin broke 20:00 as he ran a 19:46 for 75th. Seth cut 20 seconds off of his time from earlier this year. Nick Shaw had a little bit of injury trouble and finished with a 23:30 for 97th."
On the girls side, St. Teresa's Rachel Devereux blitzed the field by 28 seconds, crossing in 17:36.4. Her teammate Lauren Evelti was next. Monticello's Hannah Houska broke into the St. T pack in 3rd.
St. T's Audrey Vandercar was 4th. Monticello had another runner, then the 4th and 5th St. T runners crossed capping their score at 20 points and giving them the OVC girls title. s
Shelby's best, Molly Yockey in 11th place (19:04.85) followed Monty's 3rd girl.
"Molly earned all-conference honors," Coach Kramer said. "She was 21 seconds faster than she ran at our invite this year. Molly is running well right now. She needs to continue to improve if she wants to make it to state. Our sectional is tough this year."
Central A&M's #1, sophomore Salena Sloan fiinished 14th (19:22.5). Morgan Powers, Shelby's next girl, finished in 19th place (19:30.47).
"Morgan's time was two seconds slower than what she ran at our invite earlier this year," Kramer said. "Morgan did not have a great race, but not a bad one either. She can do better and I think she will at regionals."
Jorgi Sparrgrove, A&M's 2nd, was 23rd (team 19th) in 20:35.43. SOV's #1, Ashlyn Risley was 25th (team 20th) in 20:41.51.
Shelby freshman Maggy Yockey came into the chute in 28th (20:58.02).
"It was Maggy's first run on our course this year, Kramer said. "I thought Maggy ran fine. We really have been focusing with her to get under 7:00 pace and she is doing it."
SOV scored 137 points and finished 4th as a team. They packed between team 20th and team 39th, from 20:41.51 23:00.04, a space of 2:09.13.
Central A&M placed 5th just three points behind SOV with 140 points. A&M had runners from 13 to 46th place, their pack was further apart, from 19:22.50 to 24:05.79, a space of 4:43.29.
With the OVC meet completed, the teams are now looking forward to the postseason.
"We will travel to Peoria on Saturday to run state course," said Coach Kramer. "Varsity will just run tempo pace with conference today. This will be jv runners last race of the year so hopefully they can run some good times."
Team results: 1. Monticello 45, 2. Tolono 48, 3. Shelbyville 49, 8. SOV 193, 10. Central A&M 279
Shelby, SOV, CAM results: 4. Skinner (SH) 15:37, 5. Martin (SH) 15:42, 8. Stockdale (SH) 15:52.51, 14. Wilson (SH) 16:13.0, 18. Pasley (SH) 16:38, 19. Lehman (SOV) 16:40, 24. Henze (SH) 16:54, 41. Waldhoff (SOV) 17:59, 42. Woods (CAM) 18:00, 43. Plummer (SH) 18:03, 48. Bowers (SH) 18:12, 50. Spain (SH) 18:29, 51. Harvey (SOV) 18:31, 55. Kruckeberg (SOV) 18:51, 59. Cody (SOV) 19:00, 60. Cravatta (SOV) 19:02, 61. Bernson (SH) 19:05, 62. Blakey (SOV) 19:06, 70. Green (SOV) 19:37, 71. White (SOV) 19:39.63, 72. Manship (SH) 19:39.98, 73. Cameron (SOV) 19:40, 74. Tarr (SOV) 19:43, 75. Durbin (SH) 19:16, 79. Miller (SOV) 20:15, 80. Myers (CAM) 20:33, 82. Coultas (CAM) 20:46, 83. Bagley (CAM) 20:46.69, 84. Hogan (SOV) 20:57, 90. Mauck (SOV) 21:50, 92. Schmohe (SOV) 21:52, 93. Nolen (SOV) 21:54, 94. A. Ludwig (CAM) 22:29, 96. Priest (SOV) 22:43, 97. Shaw (SH) 23:30, 99. Bond (CAM) 28:31
Team results: 1. St. Teresa 20, 2. Monticello 47, 3. Tolono 81, 4. SOV 137, 5. CAM 140, 6. Clinton 150, 7. Tuscola 173, 8. Maroa 214, Shelbyville NS
Shelby, SOV, CAM results: 11. Mo. Yockey (SH) 19:04.85, 14. Sloan (CAM) 19:22.50, 19. Powers (SH) 19:30.47, 23. Sparrgrove (CAM) 20:35.43, 25. Risley (S)V) 20:41.51, 28. Ma. Yockey (SH) 20:58.02, 30. Car. Nuzzo (SOV) 21:00.98, 38. Lamb (SOV) 21:56.33, 46. Bowman (SOV) 22:25.80, 49. Hogan (SOV) 22:35.88, 53. Lehman (SOV) 23:00.54, 55. Ab. Collins (CAM) 23:08.23, 56. McClain (SOV) 23:18.51, 57. Garner (CAM) 23:19.71, 58. Pratt (SOV) 23:20.55, 60. Weybright (SOV) 23:34.84, 61. Murphy (SOV) 23:35.39, 64. Mosier (SOV) 23:44.25, 65. 23:47.50, 67. Lucas (SOV) 23:58.77, 68. Stewart (SOV) 24:00.15, 70. K. Schinzler (CAM) 24:05.79, 75. Miller (SOV) 24:33.89, 77. Ad. Collins (CAM) 24:44.06, 79. La. Schinzler (CAM) 25:31.52, 83. Ruppert (SOV) 26:36.24, 84. Shuman (SOV) 26:42.89, 85. Mitchell (SOV) 28:49.61, 86. Clements (SOV) 28:50.67, 88. Mauck (SOV) 29:19.17, 89. Murray (CAM) 29:22.19, 90. Daily (CAM) 30:03.10