The road to Peoria: M-S girls' cross-country heads to state

Kristin Allen is in her first year at the helm of the Mahomet-Seymour girls' cross-country program, but she's already etched her name into school history. Thanks to a clutch run from freshman Elizabeth Sims, M-S won the Class 2A East Peoria girls' cross-country sectional meet on Saturday to qualify for state.

Sims finished second out of 139 runners, and she crossed the finish line with a time of 18 minutes, 16 seconds. Senior Brisa McGrath placed sixth with a time of 18 minutes, 29 seconds as M-S finished with 74 team points. Normal University High was second with a team score of 79.

Grace Lietz ran her fastest time of the season, covering the 3-mile course in 19:05 to place 19th. Olivia Bunting was 23rd in 19:26 and Madi Balbach was 24th in 19:27. Klein Powell finished 41st in 20:00, and Delaney King was 58th in 20:40.

Sims' time of 18:15 was the 14th-best time of any runner in Class 2A sectionals. Sims would put herself in uncharted territory if she won the Class 2A state championship individually.

The Bulldogs will now compete on Saturday in the Class 2A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. The girls' race will get started at 11 a.m.

Boys' cross-country

After finishing fourth at state individually last year, Mathias Powell has put the rest of the state on notice with multiple big-time performances as a senior.

Last Saturday was no different. Powell picked up his seventh victory of the season (out of eight races) with a 12.06-second win in the Class 2A East Peoria Sectional.

Powell blazed the 3-mile course in 15 minutes and 16.22 seconds.

Bryson Keeble advanced to state with a 14th-place finish. Keeble finished in 16:11, but despite their best efforts, M-S as a team will not make it back to state.

The Bulldogs finished sixth out of 12 teams with a score of 174. Only the top-five teams qualified for state.

Freshman Kyle Nofziger placed 20th in 16:21, but it was a heartbreaking end for Nofziger as he finished just five seconds away from heading to state.

Joe Taylor was 66th in 17:18, Joseph Scheele was 73rd in 17:21 and Josh Wilcoski was 109th in 18:41.

Only six other runners in all of Class 2A ran a faster time than Powell. The fastest sectional time was 15 minutes, 11 seconds by Mascoutah's Casmir Cozzi.

Powell won the East Peoria Invitational in late September with a time of 15:05.8, so he'll have a great chance at winning a state championship.

The Class 2A boys' state race will start at noon on Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

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