JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. — The Shelbyville boys cross country team scored a sizzling 30 points on Saturday to scald the competition and the course at the Prairie Central Meet.
"We had an outstanding day," said Ram coach Kevin Kramer. "Everyone who ran had personal bests. Its tough to single out performances because there were so many great efforts today."
All five runners ran under 16:00 minutes for the first time in school history. The Rams won the varsity division by scoring a low 30 points over ranked Pleasant Plains (49).
"The 4th ranked Rams ran the best any team has ran in school history," Kramer said. "The guys really put the hammer down today. Pleasant Plains, who is ranked in the Top 10 came in thinking they were going to beat us. They were ahead after the first mile, but all of our guys ran smart and ended up taking it to them."
Drennian Martin had a personal best time of 15:12 and came in a close 2nd overall.
"If Dennian had another 400 he would have won," Coach Kraemr said. "But I am not going to take anything away from him. He ran almost even splits for all three of his miles in running one of the fastest times ever by a Shelbyville runner."
It was a tight group at the finish with Marcus Skinner just two seconds back (15:14) in 4th place.
"Marcus ran real well, but got out-kicked at line by one of the Plains runners, who was also a sophomore," Kramer said. "That was a little disappointing for Marcus, because that was for top sophomore in the race award. But like Drennian, Marcus ran even splits and ran smart."
Jaden Stockdale finished 14 second slater in 6th place.
"He passed a lot of kids during the second half of the race," Kramer said. "He ran the best race of his career. Jaden is finally 100% and it showed. He moved up the entire race and beat the runners he was supposed to beat. I couldn't be more proud or happier for Jaden. He is a great kid and deserves to run as well as he did."
Kenton Wilson was just two spots behind in 8th place with a personal best of 15:38.
"Kenton and Jaden both ran together and moved up the entire race," Coach Kramer said. "I think Kenton thought he wasn't doing very well, because Jaden ran so good, but he was too."
Wilson cut well over a minute off of his time from last year and was just over 20 seconds behind Martin.
"That's where where he needs to be," said Kramer. "With continued hard work and dedication Kenton can fly up to the top."
Tyler Pasley was the fifth Ram scorer, finishing in 10th place (15:46). He put all Ram runners in the Top 10, closed the pack within 34 seconds of each other and capped their point total at 30.
"Tyler was top freshman in the meet," said Coach Kramer. "Tyler ran just a fabulous race. He paced himself perfectly and worked up the entire race. A 34-second gap might be the best we have ever had in an invitational meet.
"I knew Tyler had this in him. It was just a matter of him believing in himself and getting it done. Now he needs to show some consistency and do it again. It think he will with continued hard work."
In the girls varsity race, Molly Yockey led the Lady Rams with a 3rd place finish.
"She ran just over 18 minutes for a personal best," Coach Kramer said. "This was the first race of the year where Molly ran a better time than what she ran last season. It was great to see. She has had a great attitude and has been working through the mono and the injuries she has been recovering from last year."
Morgan Powers ran a personal best of 18:57 to finish in 10th place.
"Morgan ran a great time, but she could have been in top five in my opinion," Coach Kramer said. "She is such a competitor that she gets a little anxious and pushes the pace harder and earlier than she should, which ends up putting her in oxygen debt too early in the race.
"She has shown hints in other races of pacing herself and she did a little better. But she still needs to work on pacing. She will feel a lot better passing girls at the end, than feeling like she has a gorilla on her back the last mile when she goes out too fast."
There was a fresh-soph race for boys and one for girls.
The Ram fresh/soph boys won their division of the invitational. Preston Henze led the way with the first place finish in the race.
"Preston ran his best race ever," said Kramer. "He was right under 16:30, which would be his best time by about 45 seconds. Preston has been battling an injury all season long that effects his breathing. It still bothered him a little, but he was able to block it out for an outstanding effort. He looked very good the entire race."
All of the Ram fresh-soph runners had personal bests.
"Hunter Plummer ran just over 17:00's to place in the top three. Hunter has a ton of ability. He came out late and had his appendix taken out earlier in the season. This was only his third race. Sky is the limit for him if he decides he wants it bad enough."
Drake Manship ran a personal best 17:45.
"Drake is another runner who came out first day of official practice with no summer training, yet ran a personal best of 17:45 for 7th place," Coach Kramer said. "Drake has come a long way in a short period of time. Like Hunter he has unlimited potential. He could be as good as he wants. He just has to decide how dedicated he wants to be to reach his full potential on and off the field."
Josh Bernson and Isaak Spain were neck and neck in 13th and 14th place, respectively, around 18:10.
"Josh and Isaak have put a lot of work in since the beginning of the summer and to see where they are at today is really impressive," Kramer said. "They have really improved. Both were in the 20 minute range.
Nick Shaw cut over two minutes off of his best time for 30th place in just over 20 minutes.
"Nick has only been out two years and improved tremendously," Coach Kramer said. "We have a lot of young guys that could be very, very good by the time they are seniors if they show the desire and committment of the runners before them. The sky is the limit."
Maggy Yockey won the girls fresh-soph race.
"Maggy dominated the frosh/soph race, running a personal best of 19:38," Coach Kramer said. "Maggy ran virtually pain free the whole race, which was nice because she has been battling a calf strain. It was fun to watch her run today. Hopefully, she can build on this and continue with success."
There was also an open race. Erik Bowers placed 4th in 17:38.
"He ran his best race ever in the open race with a personal best. of 17:38," Coach Kramer said. "Erik is the model for our team motto, which is "First half pace, second half race". He always starts way in the back because most runners, especially inexperienced ones start way too fast.
"Erik has shown he is going to be fighting for one of the varsity postions in the future with his hard work. To think where is has come from his freshman year is amazing. He was running well over 24 minutes when he started. I look forward to his leadership as a senior next year."
The Rams now get ready for conference meet which they host on Thursday, Oct 17.
"This will be a great meet," said Coach Kramer. "I encourage everyone who reads this to attend. Even if you dont know anything about cross-country this will be a great experience and a chance to see some of the top runners and teams in the state."
The girls race boasts 3-time defending state champion Decatur St. Teresa going up against #2 ranked Monticello.
"Several of the girls in the race will be all staters, including one of the favorites Rachel Deverouex of St. Teresa," Coach Kramer said. "
The boys race has three of the top four teams in the state: #1 Tolono Unity, #3 Monticello, and # 4 Shelbyville.
"Like the girls. there will be several all-state performers, including one of the favorites, Eric Ponder of Tuscola," Kramer said.
The meet starts at 4:30 with the girls race, followed at approx. 5:15 with the boys race.