Death and taxes may be the only certainties in life, but for the last ten years, a spot in the sectionals for the Litchfield girls cross country team can be added to that list as well.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, the Litchfield girls punched their ticket to sectionals for the ninth straight time by virtue of their fourth place finish at the Carlinville Regional at Loveless Park.
The Panthers picked up 136 points on Saturday to earn their spot, edging Alton Marquette by seven for fourth place. Juggernaut Shelbyville would take first with 38 points, followed by Roxana with 48 and Father McGivney with 86.
Litchfield put together a solid run with three runners in the top 25, led by sophomore Delanie Ulrich. Ulrich, running in the first flight made up of the number one and two runners, would stop the clocks at 20:45.21 to finish in 13th place overall.
Her fellow sophomore and first flight partner, Myka Fenton, would join her in the top 20. Fenton would run a 20:54.61 to finish 17th overall.
Kylee Eiting and senior Karly Kruse would run in the second flight, with Eiting joining Fenton and Ulrich in the top 25. The junior runner would place 21st, running a 21:21.36. Kruse, the only senior in Litchfield’s top seven this year, would run a 23:05.77 to finish 42nd on the day.
All four of Litchfield’s runners in the first two flights cut time off their season bests.
Madison Brakenhoff would add in the third score for the Lady Panthers as she finished 56th overall with a time of 24:36.08. Isabelle Murphy and Olivia Mitchell would round out the lineup for Coach Jeremy Palmer’s squad as they finished with times of 25:31.58 and 27:49.61, good for 67th and 76th respectively.
With no state tournament due to COVID-19, the pressure will be off Litchfield to qualify for Peoria, but the focus will be on improvement instead for the young Purple Panthers. Six members will return to next year, so if everything goes well, this year will be a warm-up for tenth straight trip to sectionals for Litchfield.
October 24 at Carlinville
Class 1A Regional
Loveless Park - 3 Miles
Team Results: 1. Shelbyville 38; 2. Roxana 48; 3. Father McGivney 86; 4. Litchfield 136; 5. Alton Marquette 143; 6. Staunton 186; 7. Hillsboro 189; 8. Pana 191; 9. Cowden-Herrick 230; 10. Southwestern 244; 11. Greenville 268; 12. Metro-East Lutheran 285.
Individual Top Ten: 1. Gabrielle Spain (Shelbyville) 18:38.70; 2. Kaitlyn Hatley (Father McGivney) 19:15.86; 3. Riley Doyle (Roxana) 19:17.49; 4. Kailey Vickrey (Marquette) 19:46.80; 5. Ellie Nohren (Shelbyville) 19:52.92; 6. Book Schutt (Shelbyville) 20:00.92; 7. Janelynn Wirth (Roxana) 20:11.61; 8. Alyssa Terhaar (Father McGivney) 20:12.77; 9. Sierra Compton (Hillsboro) 20:18.42; 10. Carolyn White (Shelbyville) 20:21.27.
Litchfield (136) - 13. Delanie Ulrich 20:45.21; 17. Myka Fenton 20:54.61; 21. Kylee Eiting 21:21.36; 42. Karly Kruse 23:05.77; 56. Madison Brakenhoff 24:36.08; 67. Isabelle Murphy 25:31.58; 76. Olivia Mitchell 27:49. 61.