Cross country advances to Sectional

Chelsea Peck
Senior Ryan Vahle runs for Dunlap.

Before the Dunlap cross country team headed to Regional Saturday, Coach Joe Wenskus was proud of his team.

With a young team as they are, Wenskus said they have been doing well for themselves.

“We had a nice chat yesterday (Wednesday). I told them the story of one spot in our history where we had a team that placed third in Regionals. They knew it would be pretty difficult to get to State. They placed third in Sectionals and made it to State,” Wenskus said.

“I was telling that story  to say, ‘Don’t base everything off of Regionals.’”

The girls placed fifth and the boys placed fourth in varsity at the Mid-Illini Conference  Oct. 15.

Junior Leah Brooks placed sixth, and Wenskus said she is a role model for the whole team.

“The team pushes each other because Leah is such a hard worker,” he said. “They see what she has to do to be successful. She has accomplished so much in her career and she’s just a junior.”

Ana Landon placed 27th, Danielle Snarr placed 29th, Kristeen Morgan placed 30th and Anna McCann placed 34th at the Mid Illini Conference.

The boys, who placed fourth, had Zach Plank in seventh, Ryan Vahle in 12th, Matt Weber in 22nd, John Eberle in 27th, and Anthony Holshouser in 31st.

Plank and Brooks made all-conference, with Vahle scoring an honorable mention.

Wenskus said all seven teams at Regional will be a challenge.

“It will be a very competitive Regional, but if you’re an athlete that’s what you would want,” he said.

Wenskus said he has been talking to the team a lot to explain how Regional, Sectional and State will work.

He said the team knows the best runners will be chosen for the trek to State.

Wenskus said the athletes in cross country are different than those in contact sports.

“After meets are over, our kids go talk to the Morton or Metamora runners. It’s a neat part of cross country,” he said. “The kids are impressed with the other teams.”

Dunlap hosted the Regional meet Saturday, where both the girls and boys team advanced to the East Peoria Sectional.

The girls placed fourth out of seven teams, with Brooks in sixth.

The boys placed third out of seven teams, with Plank in seventh, Weber in 10th and Vahle in 12th.