Effingham Daily News
Coming into the final turn of the Class 1A Dectaur St. Teresa Sectional, there wasn’t another runner in sight behind St. Anthony freshman Anna Sophia Keller.
Still, with the race well in hand over the final stretch, Keller turned on the speed and sprinted toward the finish line, adding precious seconds to her first-place time.
"I normally go out on a good speed, and at the end, I normally sprint," Keller said of her burst at the line. "I try to go faster at the end."
Keller easily won the race with a time of 16:45, adding a sectional championship to her regional championship in her freshman campaign, where she has not been beaten in any race she’s run this year.
She downed Urbana’s Annemarie Michael by nearly 50 seconds, as Michael ran a 17:34 and St. Teresa’s Rachel Devereux finished third in 17:35.
In addition to Keller’s qualification, Altamont’s Andrew Sharp finished ninth overall and qualified for this week’s state championship with a time of 15:44 in Class 1A. Effingham’s Jenna Bingham continued her season with a qualifying time of 18:51 in 12th place in the Decatur MacArthur Class 2A Sectional.
Sharp is making his second-straight trip to state. He made it last year as a junior and finished 30th overall with a time of 15:35.
The races were run at Hickory Point Golf Course outside of Decatur, cohosted by St. Teresa and MacArthur.
With wet conditions overnight, Keller ran with spikes for the first time all year.
Any apprehension didn’t show, as Keller cut nearly 30 seconds off her time that won her a sectional crown.
St. Anthony finished eighth overall with 216 points in the 1A girls race, and Cumberland finished 12th with 319 points. Newton also competed, but their score was not in the top 12 on the IHSA website.
On the boys’ side, Teutopolis took 12th place overall in the meet. Results from Cumberland and Altamont were not posted on the IHSA’s website as they fell outside the top 12 teams.
The area cross country scene is down to three – Keller, Sharp and Bingham. They’ll all run in separate races at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday.
Keller may be the 1A frontrunner, as she had the fastest time across the five 1A sectionals Saturday. Her closest competition was Michael, beating every other sectional champion by over a full minute Saturday.
She also had the fastest time of any runner compared to the Class 2A runners, and only Glenbard West’s Madeline Perez ran a faster time than her in Class 3A, running a 16:44. The other races were run at different courses with different layouts, however.
Heading to her first state meet at the high school level, Keller is keeping a level head regarding Saturday’s race.
" It's pretty exciting, I hope I can do well at state next weekend," she said. "I'm not really sure (about my expectations, I hope I get a good time."
ST. TERESA GIRLS SECTIONAL
1. St. Teresa 38, 2. St. Joseph-Ogden 97, 3. Tolono Unity 113, 4. Monticello 184, 5. Urbana University 187, 6. Carlinville 198, 7. Litchfield 205, 8. St. Anthony 216, 9. Olney 276, 10. Mt. Zion 292, 11. Champaign St. Thomas More 314, 12. Cumberland 319
Advancing individuals: Keller (St. Anthony) 16:45; Cargnino (Olney) 18:25; Viano (Carlinville) 18:26; Madden (C) 18:43; File (Greenville) 19:23; Bailey (Mt. Zion) 19:24; Sinn (Heyworth) 19:24
Sectional champion: Keller (St. Anthony) 16:45
ST. TERESA BOYS SECTIONAL
1. Monticello 93, 2. Tolono Unity 97, 3. Shelbyville 125, 4. St. Joseph-Ogden 156, 5. Urbana University 161, 6. St. Thomas More 174, 7. Paxton-Buckley-Loda 195, 8. Mt. Zion 208, 9. Olney 292, 10. Heyworth 306, 11. Robinson 347, 12. Teutopolis 356
Advancing individuals: Davis (Fithian Oakwood) 14:46; Hess (St. Thomas More) 14:55; Ponder (Tuscola) 15:07; Reed (Mt. Zion) 15:19; Martens (H) 15:33; Hosseini (MZ) 15:42; Sharp (Altamont) 15:44; Strobel (Vandalia) 15:46
Sectional champion: Davis (Fithian Oakwood) 14:46
MACARTHUR GIRLS SECTIONAL
1. Springfield 81, 2. Chatham Glenwood 85, 3. Highland 85, 4. Mahomet-Seymour 127, 5. Mattoon 148, 6. Breese Mater Dei 188, 7. Sacred Heart Griffin 216, 8. East St. Louis 247, 9. Taylorville 257, 10. Marion 277, 11. Champaign Central 280, 12. Danville 292
Advancing individuals: Singleton (Bethalto) 18:17; Wright (CC) 18:21; Chelsvig (Jacksonville) 18:32; Elliott (D) 18:38; Lager (BMD) 18:41; Bingham (Effingham) 18:51; Kaefring (Champaign Centennial) 18:56