Cross Country Keeps Pushing

Adysen Harre, Staff Writer

The Okawville Cross Country team has had a very successful season thus far. On the weekend of September 9th, the harriers took a trip to Peoria – staying overnight to prepare for their largest meet. Running the same course where the state races are held, the athletes prepared for a hopeful future of advancing to run there once again later in the year. 

Over 600 runners completed the one-and-a-half laps around Detwiler Park that morning. Freshman, Carolina Tepe, was the OHS girls’ varsity top runner with an outstanding 34th place finish. Out of the 471 female racers, Tepe crossed the finish line with a time of 19:37. Ryker Obermier was the boys’ varsity top runner with a well-deserved 223 place out of 642 and a time of 18:53 seconds.

The Peoria Invitational was such a great opportunity for our teams!  They got to compete on the IHSA State Course in a very large meet with competitors we do not see at our local meets.  The teams are thankful for all the parents who made the trip to cheer for them.” says Assistant Coach, Tricia Schliefer. 

The entire team’s hard work and determination throughout the season have shown through their outstanding scores beyond the most recent meet. On Tuesday, September 13th, the Rockets and Lady Rockets ran in the Sparta Invitational. This race included 51 varsity runners for the boys and 48 for the girls. Grant Schleifer was the top runner for Okawville, placing 4th with a time of 17:21. Ryker Obermier finished 12th overall with a time of 18:51. Right behind him was Joseph Jansen with a time of 19:11. The varsity boys team came out on top with a total score of 73. 

The girls’ varsity team would go on to place 3rd at the Sparta meet. Caroline Tepe came in first place with a time of 19:17. Lydia Luectefield finished in 5th place with a time of 21:52. Other team placements include Sparta in 1st place with 41 points, Nashville in 2nd with 44 points, and Okawville in 3rd with 45 points. 

Next, the runners traveled to DuQuoin to compete in the John Campbell Invitational. Grant Schliefer finished with an impressive time of 17:27, placing him 2nd out of a total of 60 varsity runners. Once again, Ryker Obermier came away with a placement. Obermeier ran a 19:41 and earned 20th place. The Rockets finished 3rd out of 8 teams with a total of 86 points. 

The female DuQuoin race included 46 runners, but two Lady Rockets ran their way into the top 15. Caroline Tepe finished in 3rd place with a time of 20:16 and Lydia Luectefield came in 11th place with a time of 22:30. The team finished 4th overall with 75 points. 

With the season continuing on at a rapid pace, on Monday, September 19th, the team ran in the local Nashville Invitational. Bearing through incredibly hot temperatures, the team did not let that stop them from impressive results. With a total of 121 runners, Grant Schliefer and Ryker Obermier placed 38th and 39th with times of 20:37 and 20:40 respectively. As a team, the boys’ varsity placed 6 out of 14 with 210 points. 

The Lady Rockets also had two runners cross the finish line with high placements at Washington County Lake that weekend. Out of 118 runners, Caroline Tepe finished 3rd with a  20:27 time. Once again, Lydia Luectefield ran a great race with a time of 23:52. 

Although both teams are off to an impressive start, they are not done yet. Assistant Coach Schliefer states, “We have battled some injuries and illnesses during the first half, but the runners are improving every day and are ready to attack the second half of the season.” 

The Okawville harriers hope to continue their level of high competition and fast paces throughout the remainder of the season. With 6 races left, these athletes have a lot of miles left to run. It will be exciting to see how these meets play out for our Rockets and Lady Rockets.