The rallying cry for the Litchfield High School cross country program this year has been, “Do Not Be Content.” While that may be true for the Panthers, they can definitely be proud of how they did at the IHSA Class 1A Cross Country State Finals at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday, Nov. 6.
In the Litchfield boys’ first ever trip to state in cross country, the Panthers finished 29th in the 30-team field, with four of the seven runners setting personal bests. If that wasn’t enough, Litchfield sophomore Camden Quarton cemented his place as one of the top Class 1A runners in the state as he finished in the top 25 and became the first LHS boys runner to earn all-state honors.
Quarton ran a personal best time of 15:33.2 at the three-mile course, beating his previous best from the East Alton-Wood River Invitational by more than 12 seconds. That time would be good enough to put Quarton in 23rd place, eight-tenths of a second ahead of Riverdale’s Landis Musser and one second ahead of Depaul College Prep’s Charlie Richardson, who rounded out the top 25 for all-state honors.
In addition to their all-stater, three other Litchfield runners also set personal records at Detweiller Park. Sam Horn ran a 17:29.07 to finish 202nd and cut 11 seconds off his season best time, which came two weeks before at the Althoff Regional.
Gavin Thimsen finished 228th with a time of 17:57.89, the first time he has broken 18 minutes this season. Thimsen, whose previous best was 18:02.7 at the EAWR Invite, cut 51 seconds off his time at sectionals during his state run.
Peyton Baugher, a junior who didn’t run at regionals or sectionals, also had a big improvement in his personal best, cutting more than a minute and a half off his time from the EAWR Invite. Baugher, who ran a 22:53.1 at EAWR, ran a 21:34.8 to finish 260th overall.
The three aforementioned runners will all join Quarton again next year as they compete in their senior seasons, but for three others, Saturday’s meet was their last as Purple Panthers.
Kevin Pollard finished 240th with a time of 18:16.5, after two standout performances at regionals and sectionals the two weeks before to help Litchfield get to state.
Alex DeLaCruz was just off his pace from sectionals, when he finished 60th, running an 18:31.5 to finish 247th overall.
Brayden Davis also ran better than he had during the regular season, clocking in at 18:42.9 to finish 251st, two weeks after setting a personal best at the Althoff Regional.
All three runners will be missed next year as Litchfield looks to continue the momentum they gained in 2021.
Quarton’s 23rd place finish supplanted Litchfield’s previous best boys finish, 58th by Ryan Bishop in 2005. That was Bishop’s second straight trip to state and was the last time Litchfield had a runner compete in the meet, with 2008 grad Anthony Robinson also joining Bishop in Peoria that year.
Coach Jeremy Palmer is hopeful that it won’t be another 16 years until the Panthers are back at state and with Quarton, Horn, Thimsen and Baugher returning (along with freshman Kenny Traylor and sophomore Cy Cress), odds are good that won’t be the case.
Litchfield’s success this season will hopefully help their numbers as well as both the boys and girls teams could use a few more runners to pad their rosters.
Regardless of who and how many don the Panther uniform next year, 2021 was a special season for those who did, especially the ones who were part of the boys’ state run. No, Litchfield wasn’t content, but they should definitely be proud.
Nov. 6 at Peoria
Class 1A State Finals Cross Country
Detweiller Park - 3 Miles
Boys Team Results: 1. Chicago Latin 165; 2. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 172; 3. Chicago DePaul College Prep 186; 4. Normal University 193; 5. Rockford Christian 217; 6. St. Joseph-Ogden 225; 7. Benton 245; 8. Stanford Olympa 278; 9. Pinckneyville 297; 10. Monticello 304; 11. Port Byron Riverdale 324; 12. Shelbyville 337; 13. Newton 362; 14. Niles Northridge Prep 367; 15. West Chicago Wheaton Academy 379; 16. Hamilton West Hancock 383; 17. Elmwood 401; 18. Decatur St. Teresa 420; 19. Elgin Harvest Christian Academy 422; 20. Eureka 457; 21. Sandwich 459; 22. Amboy 468; 23. Herscher 479; 24. Sterling Newman Central Catholic 551; 25. El Paso-Gridley 599; 26. Freeburg 617; 27. Steeleville 634; 28. Breese Mater Dei 725; 29. Litchfield 734; 30. Erie-Phrophetstown 777.
29. Litchfield - 23. Camden Quarton 15:33.11; 202. Sam Horn 17:29.07; 228. Gavin Thimsen 17:57.89; 240. Kevin Pollard 18:16.44; 247. Alex DeLaCruz 18:31.45; 251. Brayden Davis 18:42.84; 260. Peyton Baugher 21:34.76.
Class 1A Boys All-State:
1. Ryder James (Paxton-Buckley-Loda) - 14:16.89; 2. Drew Rogers (Herscher) - 14:29.00; 3. Miles Sheppard (Hamilton West Hancock) - 14:31.96; 4. Daniel Winkelman (Elgin Harvest Christian Academy) - 14:42.27; 5. Isaac Teel (Pinckneyville) - 14:45.08; 6. Gavin Genisio (Benton) - 14:46.97; 7. Mason Stoeger (Minonk Fieldcrest) - 14:58.52; 8. Ryan Hardiman (Chicago Latin) - 14:59.19; 9. Tommy Murray (Port Byron Riverdale) - 15:17.01; 10. Akili Parekh (Chicago Latin) - 15:18.08;
; 11. Kieran Subra (Chicago Lycee Francais de Chicago) - 15:18.35; 12. Cannen Wolf (Liberty) - 15:18.91; 13. Logan Beckmier (Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond) - 15:20.73; 14. Ethan Walsh (Rockford Christian) - 15:20.96; 15. Landen Swiney (DuQuoin) - 15:21.42; 16. Mac Kittrell (Chicago DePaul College Prep) - 15:22.64; 17. Thomas Harmon (Elmwood) - 15:25.74; 18. Bryson Grant (Gilman Iroquois West) - 15:27.14; 19. Weston Forward (Rockford Christian) - 15:28.69; 20. Ben Gibson (Chicago Latin)) - 15:29.44; 21. Isaac Stanford (Flora) - 15:30.66; 22. Eli Mojonnier (Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin) - 15:31.33; 23. Camden Quarton (Litchfield) - 15:33.11; 24. Landis Musser (Port Byron Riverdale) - 15:33.91; 25. Charlie Richardson (Chicago DePaul College Prep) - 15:34.12.
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