JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL — The Shelbyville boys Rams Cross-country team advanced to the state meet for the second year in a row and the 15th time in program history. placing third at the the state's most difficult 1A sectional, the Decatur Sectional at Hickory Point.
There were eight ranked teams in that one sectional vying for five spots to advance to state. Monticello was 1st (93), Tolono 2nd (97), Shelbyville 3rd (125), St. Joe-Ogden 4th (156), and Urbana 5th (161).
The three individual Shelbyville Lady Ram runners came up just a little short of qualifying for the state meet. Molley Yockey was 25th, Morgan Powers was 28th, and freshman Maggy Yockey was 54th.
"I very, very proud of these guys," said Ram coach Kevin Kramer. "To think we lost six seniors last year, five of which were in the top seven and came back this year and advanced again. It is just amazing."
Marcus Skinner finished 15th overall and Drennian Martin 18th, followed by Jaden Stockdale, Kenton Wilson, and Tyler Pasley. The five Ram scorers finished within 48 seconds of each other.
"The kids have done everything I have asked of them since the end of last year to get us to this point,: Coach Kramer said. "A lot of the credit goes to our senior co-captains Drennian Martin and Jaden Stockdale. They have led the way and shown our new guys what it takes to get to the top. I have no doubt we wouldn't be in the position we are today without their leadership."
The Rams were led by sophomore Marcus Skinner,, who placed 15th with a time of 15:55. Next in for the Rams was senior Drennian Martin, who was 18th with a time of 16:01. Senior Jaden Stockdale ran a 16:25 to finish in 31st place. Kenton Wilson was right behind in 35th place in 16:30.
"I thought all of our top four went out way too slow the first mile," Coach Kramer said. "We like to pace ourselves the first mile and race the second half, but we just were too far back today. We were about 10 seconds per person behind where we should have been. But that is ok. We held on strong and the goal was to keep advancing and that is what we did."
The Rams bottom three positions were Tyler Pasley 44th place with a time of 16:43, Preston Henze in 67th with a time of 17:11 and Hunter Plummer in 70th place with a 17:12.
The Rams set a course team record as they ran a 1:21.12 to beat the 2011 teams time of 1:22.37. Team members of the 2011 team were Alex Matlcok, Neil Yockey, Myles Foor, Drennian Martin, and Cory Powers.
"It was great to get the record, because even though we didn't get out hard enough, we still managed to break the record," Coach Kramer said.
The Lady Rams just missed getting a couple girls through to State.
Molly Yockey missed qualifying by one spot, finishing in 25th place in 19:29.
Yockey was the 8th individual not on a qualifying team. Seven advance, so she just missed by about five seconds.
"Obviously, we are disappointed for Molly and she was also, but I thought she had a good year. Getting mono last winter really set her back. I always think it takes a year to recover from mono, so I think she is getting there."
Morgan Powers fininshed in 28th (19:39).
"She ran her best true three mile time," Coach Kramer said. "Morgan was the 9th place individual, so she just missed also. Our sectional is probably the toughest in the state for girls so to finish in top thirty is an accomplishment.
"I thought Morgan really improved this year and put herself in position to have a great last two years."
Maggy Yockey finished in 54th in a time of 20:30.
"Maggy really ran well," Coach Kramer said. "It was her best full three mile time of the year and I thought she looked strong the whole race.
"Hopefully, we can get a couple more runners out next year. With these three outstanding girls if we get just a couple, we have a great shot at getting to state as a team."
The Rams will now run next Saturday at the IHSA 1A Cross Country State Meet in Detweiller Park, Peoria.