For the seventh time in the program's history and the second time in three years, the Litchfield girls cross country team are regional champions.
The Panthers ran one of their best races of the year on Saturday, Oct. 20, putting all five scoring runners in the top 25 to beat Staunton by 15 points. The Bulldogs, who won the regional last year in Shelbyville, were fresh off a second place finish at the South Central Conference meet, finishing just ahead of Litchfield.
As they have done all season long, the one-two punch of Caroline Quarton and Madi Throne led the Panthers on Saturday as they finished fourth and fifth respectively. Quarton would run a 19:37, while Throne would clock in at 19:52 to give Litchfield a strong start.
Litchfield's closest competition, Staunton and third place Shelbyville, would match or exceed the Panthers success at the top of the line-up, but the three through five runners would be the difference makers.
Freshman Kylee Eiting continued her strong season as well, placing eighth with a time of 20:57.99. Liz Dawson and Karly Kruse would finish just a second apart, with Dawson (a Lincolnwood student who runs for the co-op team) finishing 21st with a time of 22:01.83 and Kruse finishing 22nd with a time of 22:02.92.
Eiting, Dawson and Kruse all finished better than the three, four and five runners from the Bulldogs and Rams.
While those five were the times that counted for the Panthers, Litchfield's sixth and seventh runners did well also. Hailey Bolte ran a 22:21.95 to finish 26th, while Anna Baugher was 44th with a time of 23:45.21.
Litchfield now advances to the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 27. They will be joined by the qualifying teams and individuals from the Robinson and Tuscola regionals, with the top five teams and top seven individuals not on a qualifying team, plus any individuals that finish in the top ten not on a qualifying team, advancing to state.
October 20 at Carlinville
Class 1A Girls Regional
Team Results: 1. Litchfield 51, 2. Staunton 66, 3. Shelbyville 82, 4. Auburn 120, 5. Carlinville 131, 6. Central A&M, 7. Altamont 156, 8. Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City 164, 9. Pana 221.
Individual Champion: Lydia Roller (Staunton) 17:46.27
Advancing Individuals: Riley Vickery (Marquette) 19:06; Mady Rupert (Hillsboro) 21:16; Laina Wilderman (Southwestern) 21:27; Lily Baumgartner (Carrollton) 21:28; Haley Bartels (Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City) 21:51.
Litchfield Girls Results: 4. Caroline Quarton 19:37; 5. Madi Throne 19:52; 8. Kylee Eiting 20:57.99; 21. Liz Dawson 22:01.83; 22. Karly Kruse 22:02.92; 26. Hailey Bolte 22:21.95; 44. Anna Baugher 23:45.21.