As it turns out, Litchfield and everyone else not named Roxana was vying for second place on Monday, Oct. 19, at the South Central Conference meet at Southwestern High School. And while the Shells’ dominance was awe inspiring, the Panthers were successful in achieving runner-up status, an accomplishment in its own right.
The Roxana girls earned their third straight South Central Conference title in the most dominant way possible, sweeping the top five scoring spots. The quintet of Janelynn Wirth, Keiko Palen, Gabs Woodruff, Zoey Losch and Riley Doyle formed the tip of the spear for the Shells and bore through the 5K course in Piasa, running times of 20:57 to 21:04 with deadly efficiency.
According to Greg Shashack’s story in The Telegraph of Alton, the finish was planned that way as Coach Scott Edwards believed his top five runners could finish in the first five positions and had them draw cards to determine their finishing position. The Lady Shells hope that holding back some on Monday will translate into a regional title in Carlinville this Saturday, Oct. 24.
The perfect 15-point performance left Litchfield in a distant second, despite a solid outing by the Lady Panthers.
Litchfield put three runners in the top ten and pushed the pace early to test the Shells.
Myka Fenton would take seventh overall to be Litchfield’s top finisher, clocking in at 21:36. Staunton’s Dana Jarden would be eighth with a time of 21:39, followed by Delanie Ulrich and Kylee Eiting of the Panthers, who grabbed the last two all-conference spots with times of 21:46 and 21:50.
The three honorees marks the eighth time in the last nine years that Litchfield has had at least that many girls make all-conference, with Eiting making the list for the third time in as many chances.
In addition to the three all-conference runners, Litchfield also got 19 points from Karly Kruse, who ran a 23:53 to finish 23rd overall and 32 points from Olivia Mitchell, who finished 37th overall with a time of 26:18.
Of that group, only Kruse will be graduating this spring, which means that Coach Jeremy Palmer will have a strong base returning next year in hopes of keeping Roxana from a four-peat in their final year as members of the South Central Conference.
But for now, the focus is on the task ahead, the Carlinville Regional, which starts at 10 a.m. with the number one and number two runners, followed by the number three and number four runners at 10:45 a.m. and number five, six and seven runners at 11:30 a.m.
The top five teams and top five runners not on an advancing team will move on to the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional meet at Hickory Point Golf Course on Oct. 31.
October 19 at Piasa
Girls South Central Conference Meet
Team Results: 1. Roxana 15; 2. Litchfield 77; 3. Staunton 97; 4. Southwestern 106; 5. Pana 108; 6. Hillsboro 111.
Litchfield (77) - 7. Myka Fenton 21:36; 9. Delanie Ulrich 21:46; 10. Kylee Eiting 21:50; 22. Karly Kruse 23:53; 37. Olivia Mitchell 26:18.