Camden Quarton took the lead early at Southwestern High School and never looked back as the Litchfield High School sophomore captured the boys individual title at the South Central Conference Cross Country meet on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Quarton, who finished second to Roxana’s Carlos Ruvalcaba last year, ran a 17:05 and was well out in front as he reentered the Southwestern track complex and finished the final few meters in the shadow of the Piasa Bird.
While the Panthers have finished in the runner-up spot three times in the last 10 years (Ryan Poggenpohl in 2016 and Caleb Thompson in 2012 also did it), this is their first individual title on the boys side in at least that long and was the first overall since 2011, when Quarton’s older sister Victoria won the first of her two titles.
The run was one of several solid ones for the Panthers, who put six of their seven runners in the top 15, with four of those athletes earning all-conference recognition by finishing in the top 11. Sam Horn was just 27 seconds behind Quarton and five seconds behind runner-up Will Meyer of Carlinville as he ran a 17:32 to give Litchfield a third place finish.
Gavin Thimsen also scored a top five for Litchfield, running an 18:17, while Kevin Pollard added in an 18:44 to finish 10th.
Just behind the all-conference group were Litchfield’s Alex DeLaCruz and Brayden Davis, who finished 13th and 14th. DeLaCruz ran an 18:52, while Davis ran an 18:55. Kenny Traylor rounded out the lineup for the Panthers, running a 21:28 to finish 25th overall.
The four all-conference honorees matched Carlinville for the most at the meet as the two schools went down to smallest margins to determine this year’s conference champion. Both Litchfield and Carlinville would have 32 points after adding up their top five runners, meaning that the winner would be determined by the schools’ sixth runners.
Carlinville’s Colin Kreipe ran an 18:48 to finish 12th, while Litchfield’s Brayden Davis ran an 18:55 to finish 14th, meaning that the Cavies took home the title by just two points, or seven seconds.
Still, the second place finish takes nothing off the shine of Litchfield’s performances on Saturday, including Quarton’s title, the Panthers’ first in at least 10 years.
An even bigger race awaits Litchfield next week as the Panthers converge on the Clinton Hills Conservation Park in Swansea for the Belleville Althoff Regional. the boys’ race will begin at 10:30 a.m., with the girls starting at 10 a.m. The top seven teams and first five runners not on an advancing team move on to the sectional, which will be hosted by Trenton Wesclin.
October 15 at Piasa
Boys Team Results: 1. Carlinville 32*; 2. Litchfield 32; 3. Staunton 90; 4. Southwestern 107; 5. Greenville 111. *Carlinville wins on best 6th score.
Boys All-Conference: 1. Camden Quarton (Litchfield) 17:05; 2. Will Meyer (Carlinville) 17:27; 3. Sam Horn (Litchfield) 17:32; 4. Matt Dunn (Carlinville) 18:08; 5. Gavin Thimsen (Litchfield) 18:17; 6. Garrett Buettel (Southwestern) 18:34; 7. Sam Wilson (Carlinville) 18:35; 8. Tyler Summers (Carlinville) 18:40; 9. Rhyse Rucker (Staunton) 18:43; 10. Kevin Pollard (Litchfield) 18:44; 11. Hayden Truax (Carlinville) 18:45.
Litchfield Boys: 1. Camden Quarton 17:05; 3. Sam Horn 17:32; 5. Gavin Thimsen 18:17; 10. Kevin Pollard 18:44; 13. Alex DeLaCruz 18:52; 14. Brayden Davis 18:55; 25. Kenny Traylor 21:28.
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