JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
The Shelbyville Rams cross country team put an exclamation point on their historic, record-setting season by finishing with a 3rd place state trophy.
In a field of 210 runners and 25 teams, the Rams had their five scorers finish in the top 73 and all seven of their runners finish in the top 130. According to Ram coach Kevin Kramer, it was the Rams highest finish ever.
“They topped the 6th place 2007 team of Clayton Baker, Shaun Nibbe, Ryan Brown, Jeremy Reel, Nick Selby, Kaleb Pruemer, and Nate Bly, Coach Kramer said. “They also shattered the team time record of the 1999 team that ran a 1:21.07. Those team members were Jerod Galvin, Lucas Kramer, Jim Hood, Jason Hubbartt, Doug Powers, Nic Danneberger and Matt Pierson. The Rams set a new standard of 1:19.42.
The Rams also had the best 1-5 man split of all the teams at State as they were just :38 seconds apart, a team average of 15:56. It was a very impressive performance by the Rams.
Shelbyville won virtually every big meet they ran in this season, until the regionals. At the Carlinville Regional the Rams came in 2nd to Mt. Zion. At the St. Anthony Sectional, the Rams came in 3rd to higher-ranked St. Thomas More (Champaign) and, again, Mt. Zion.
However, at State, the Rams beat Mt. Zion, who placed 6th, while St. Thomas More won the state title and Elmwood, also a great running program, placed 2nd.
Leading the way for the Rams again this week was senior Alex Matlock, who ran a 15:35 for 31st place.
“Alex time put him tied for 4th on the all-time top time list for Shelbyville runners on the state course, Coach Kramer said. “Alex ran a very good race. I think he was initially a little disappointed in not getting all-state, but this was a tough year and once he found out the team had placed third he was all smiles.”
Junior Drennian Martin stepped up and was the second Ram in the chute.
“Drennian ran the best race of his career,” Coach Kramer said. “He ran a 15:53 for 51st place and that time puts him at 17th on the all time top time list for Shelbyville runners. I thought, of all the guys, Drennian paced himself the best. He was able to pick off runners throughout the race.”
Senior Neil Yockey ran another race under 16:00, as he ran a 15:56 for 58th place.
“Neil’s time put him in 18th place on the all time top time list for Shelbyville runners,” Kramer said. “With that time, Neil also became the fastest Yockey in the long line of great Yockey runners over the years. Neil beat his dad’s time of 16:06 and his uncle Jerry’s time of 16:13. Neil was as steady as always. He was hurting the whole way, but never gave up on himself or his team. Neil has never really had a bad race and his performances always can be counted on.”
Senior Myles Foor flirted with the 16:00 minute mark, as he ran a very good 16:07 to place 69th and fourth for the Rams.
“Myles time puts him at 30th place on Shelbyville’s all time list of top times,” Kramer said. “What Myles has been able to do is just incredible. Myles was our best runner right before the season started and then had a stress fracture and was in a boot for over five weeks.
“During that time Myles worked everyday at the Zone and in his pool to keep his fitness level up. I want to thank our trainer Dustin Fink and the people out at the zone for getting him back to us the last few weeks.
“Most runners in his situation never make it back. Myles is not 100% in shape as the other guys, but that just tells you how good he is. He is still able to be in our top five.”
Senior Seth Applegate was the Rams 5th man.
“He ran the race of his life, placing 73rd in 16:13,” Coach Kramer said. “Seth’s time puts him in 34th place on all time list for Shelbyville runners. Seth was one of the guys who was the real key to us getting the 3rd place trophy.
“We had a large split at sectionals and we knew for us to get our goal of top five we would have to do better. Seth stepped up and met the challenge. I am very happy for Seth. He is a great leader in practice and always puts his team first. He deserved to run as well as he did.”
Freshman Marcus Skinner ran a very good 16:20 to place 87th.
“Marcus was the 7th best freshman in the meet and his time puts him at 45 on the all time Shelbyville list,” Kramer said. “Marcus has been amazing for us this year. Asst. Coach Chris Mosley put him in the distance events in 8th grade last spring and he has just exploded on the scene. For him to be putting up these kind of times in such a short period is incredible.”
Senior Cory Powers closed out his career with one of his better races as he ran a 16:47 for 130th place.
“That time puts Cory at 53rd on the all time Shelbyville list,” Coach Kramer said. “Cory has run very steady the last few weeks and he was able to beat Mt. Zion’s number five runner and that helped the us beat them. In fact, he came real close to beating their number four runner. He did his job and more in helping us get the 3rd place trophy.”
Coach Kramer challenged the groups of Ram seniors at the start of the season and they answered his challenge.
“These seniors were a special group and deserved the success they earned,” Coach Kramer said. “They never backed away from any of the challenges set before them and stayed focused on their goals. They set the bar high for future Shelbyville runners. They also showed them that with hard work and determination anything can be achieved. I am honored to have coached them.”
Sophomore Molly Yockey also ran at State as the lone Lady Ram qualifier.
“Molly Yockey improved on her sectional time of 19:30 by running a 19:18 for 78th place,” Coach Kramer said. “I thought Molly ran a very good race. This experience will help her for the next two years of her career. Molly is very good about running her own race and pacing herself. Her first two miles were right were she needed them. I look forward to working with her the next two years.”
Coach Kramer also thanked his coaching staff, the other runners on the team, and the support the team received this year.
“Special thanks to my assistant coach Chris Mosley,” Kramer said. “He has great passion for the sport and is a big reason for the program’s success.”
“I also want to mention Jaden Stockdale, Kenton Wilson and Preston Henze,” Coach Kramer said. “Although they didn’t get to run in the state meet they were a major reason for our success this year and at State.
“Jaden was consistently in the top five when Myles was hurt and Kenton and Preston would be in almost everyone else’s top seven that competed at the state meet. We just had so much depth this year and they pushed the other guys to be their best. With continued work they could find themselves running up there next year.”
“We also had a great group of parents this year that helped tremendously to our success,” Kramer said. “There were so many of them that I don't want to mention anyone by name for fear of leaving someone out. They made Coach Mosley and my job a lot easier.”
There will be a reception honoring the team on Monday, November 5th at 8 p.m. in the high school gym.
State 1A Meet
Team results: 1. St. Thomas More 82, 2. Elmwood 157, 3. Shelbyville 162, 4. Rock Island Alleman 177, 5. Richmond 181, 6. Mt. Zion 206, 8. Rochester 233, 11. Monticello 298, 13. Tolono 354, 16. Freeburg 397, 25. Salem 678
Ram results: 31. (Team 14th) Matlock 15:35, 51. (Team 28th) Martin 15:53, 58. (Team 33rd) Yockey 15:56, 69. (Team 42nd) Foor 16:07, 73. (Team 45th) Applegate 16:13, 87. (Team 55th) Skinner 16:20, 130. (Team 96th) Powers
Lady Ram results: 78. M. Yockey 19:18.