Panthers Look Fast At Sectionals

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"You look fast today.”

That’s what Coach Jeremy Palmer says he tells the Litchfield cross country team prior to a race. On Saturday, Coach Palmer’s premonition was right.

The Panthers put three boys in the top 20 at the Belleville Althoff Catholic Regional at the Clinton Hills Conservation Area on Oct. 23, including the top finisher overall. Three Litchfield girls also finished in the top 25 at the meet, including two in the top 10 overall. And most importantly, both Litchfield teams finished in the top seven, with the LHS boys third and the girls fourth as they punched their tickets to next Saturday’s Trenton Wesclin Sectional.

Ultimately, it went about as well as it could have for the Panthers, especially for Camden Quarton, who, to steal a line from Coach Palmer, looked extremely fast on Saturday.

Quarton was near the lead from the start of the race and slowly put some distance between himself and runner-up Jake Hiller of Althoff. By the finish line, the gap had grown to 10 seconds, with Quarton running a 16:07.65 and Hiller clocking in at 16:17.27.

The Litchfield sophomore was joined in the top 20 by two teammates, with all five scoring runners finishing in the top 30 for the Panthers.

Sam Horn, who finished 32nd at the Carlinville Regional last year, finished in a time of 17:40.27 to take 16th overall, while senior Kevin Pollard ran a 17:56.88 to snag 20th.

Gavin Thimsen and Brayden Davis rounded out the scoring for Litchfield, placing 28th and 29th in the 97-runner field. Thimsen ran an 18:10.41, while Davis clocked in a second behind him at 18:11.63.

Litchfield sixth and seventh men also ran well, with Alex DeLaCruz finishing in the top half of the field, placing 45th in a time of 19:06.34, while Kenny Traylor was 58th in his freshman regional debut with a time of 19:41.69.

Girls Race

The Litchfield girls were also on point on Saturday, with Myka Fenton and Kylee Eiting both breaking 21 minutes to finish in the top 10. Fenton, this year’s South Central Conference champion, ran a 20:37.43 to finish seventh, while Eiting ran a 20:53.64 to finish eighth. Both finishes were significantly better than last year’s regional, with Fenton finishing 17th and Eiting 21st in 2020.

 Delanie Ulrich provided a third prong to the Panthers’ success by finishing 22nd overall. Ulrich ran a time of 22:04.80 to give the Panthers three runners in the top 25 for the 97-runner race.

Harlee Traylor and Joelle Hughes would provide the other two scoring marks for Litchfield as Traylor finished 56th in a time of 25:30.38 and Hughes was 61st in a time of 25:38.13. Joelle’s sister Emma Hughes ran a 31:15.24 on the hilly former golf course, good for 93rd overall.

In addition to the Litchfield runners, Hillsboro also sent four competitors for the girls’ race. Avery Smith would lead the Topper contingent with a time of 26:59.96, while Meagan White ran a 28:08.03. The pair finished 70th and 78th respectively.

Alexandra Kuhns had a good race, finishing 82nd with a time of 28:52.43, while Presley Smith ran a 33:28.94 to finish 95th, beating one of the runners who had finished ahead of her at the conference meet the Saturday before.

While the Toppers weren’t able to advance individually to the sectional, the season continues for Litchfield. The Litchfield girls will run at 10 a.m. at the Trenton Wesclin Sectional on Oct. 30, while the boys will run an hour later at 11 a.m.

October 23 at Swansea

Class 1A Regional

Clinton Hills - 3 miles

Boys Team Results: 1. Freeburg 40; 2. Belleville Althoff Catholic 66; 3. Litchfield 80; 4. Columbia 110; 5. Carlinville 111; 6. Father McGivney 116; 7. O’Fallon First Baptist Academy 200; 8. Staunton 235; 9. Metro-East Lutheran 244; 10. Roxana 266; 11. Madison 319.

Boys Top 10: 1. Camden Quarton (Litchfield) 16:07.65; 2. Jack Hiller (Althoff) 16:17.27; 3. Aidan Loeffelman (EAWR) 16:46.20; 4. Will Meyer (Carlinville) 16:47.19; 5. Josh LaChance (Freeburg) 16:48.13; 6. Thomas Crossley (Columbia) 16:58.39; 7. Keary Thompson (Freeburg) 17:00.22; 8. Riley Strack (Father McGivney) 17:20.08; 9. Colin Van Pelt (Freeburg) 17:20.41; 10. Ethan Hogan (Columbia) 17:25.65.

Litchfield Boys Results: 1. Camden Quarton 16:07.65; 16. Sam Horn 17:40.27; 20. Kevin Pollard 17:56.88; 28. Gavin Thimsen 18:10.41; 29. Brayden Davis 18:11.63; 45. Alex DeLaCruz 19:06.34; 58. Kenny Traylor 19:41.69.

October 23 at Swansea

Class 1A Regional

Clinton Hills - 3 miles

Girls Team Results: 1. Father McGivney 53; 2. Freeburg 74; 3. Gillespie 142; 4. Litchfield 146; 5. Columbia 148; 6. Belleville Althoff Catholic 152; 7. Roxana 154; 8. Alton Marquette 179; 9. Dupo 202; 10. Staunton 230; 11. O’Fallon First Baptist Academy 272; 12. Southwestern 297; 13. Carlinville 325.

Girls Top 10: 1. Elena Rybak (Father McGivney) 17:51.51; 2. Kaitlyn Hatley (Father McGivney) 19:18.76; 3. Claire Nash (Althoff) 19:51.69; 4. Riley Doyle (Roxana) 20:04.69; 5. Alexis Vogel (Freeburg) 20:08.32; 6. Madison Missey (Columbia) 20:13.18; 7. Myka Fenton (Litchfield) 20:37.43; 8. Kylee Eiting (Litchfield) 20:53.64; 9. Jane Cummins (Father McGivney) 20:53.92; 10. Kiersten Scheibel (Althoff) 20:55.70.

Litchfield Girls Results: 7. Myka Fenton 20:37.43; 8. Kylee Eiting 20:53.64; 22. Delanie Ulrich 22:04.80; 56. Harlee Traylor 25:30.38; 61. Joelle Hughes 25:38.13; 93. Emma Hughes 31:15.24.

Hillsboro Girls Results: 70. Avery Smith 26:59.96; 78. Megan White 28:08.03; 82. Alexandra Kuhns 28:52.43; 95. Presley Smith 33:28.94

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