METAMORA — The state-ranked Mahomet-Seymour and University High boys and girls cross country teams advanced by comfortable margins from the Metamora Class 2A Sectional at Black Partridge Park on Saturday.
The No. 1 Mahomet-Seymour boys topped No. 2 U High, 41-67, to secure their third consecutive sectional title and qualify for next Saturday's state meet at Peoria's Detweiller Park.
U High's Jack Franklin defended his individual crown, covering the 2.9-mile course in 14 minutes, 39 seconds to best runner-up Jake Gillum of Metamora by 12 seconds. No Pioneer has ever run faster on that course.
"He looked really controlled," said U High coach Lester Hampton, who saw Franklin take the lead for good after three-quarters of a mile.
Scoring for Mahomet-Seymour were Andrew Walmer (3rd, 14:55), Mathias Powell (6th, 15:17), Ryan Hodge (7th, 15:17), Ben Craw (8th, 15:19) and Evan Burge (18th, 15:39).
U High also put Jared Schuckman (4th, 15:09) and Zach Wolford (9th, 15:19) in the top 10.
"I thought we looked good," said Hampton, noting warm, windy conditions proved taxing. "Our first three were awesome. The rest of our group were right together, but just a little bit further back than I had hoped, but we'll shore that up next weekend."
The Pantagraph area's lone individual qualifier was Lincoln junior Blake Jones in 13th (15:31). He is the first Railsplitter to advance since Jackson Johnson in 1998.
Bloomington placed 10th (231), 55 points from qualifying, and Streator was 12th (347). Other qualifiers were No. 8 Metamora (105), No. 15 Peoria Notre Dame (174) and No. 19 Dunlap (176).
For the girls, No. 14 U High was second (120) behind No. 2 Dunlap (22) while No. 11 Mahomet-Seymour was third (123). No. 7 Metamora (137) and No. 13 Peoria Notre Dame (161) also advanced.
U High freshman Katy Clausen took second (17:51) behind Dunlap senior Franny Verville (17:44). Mahomet-Seymour was led by Megan Churm (10th, 18:30) and Brisa McGrath (14th, 18:48).
Streator, which placed 14th (359), saw junior Rebecca Neaterour become the first female qualifier in school history by grabbing the final state berth in 21st (19:05).
U High also put Advika Kamatar (24th, 19:07), Emmy Mussey (26th, 19:19) and Tasha Schuckman (28th, 19:22) in the top 30.
"I was surprised by second place," said Pioneer coach John Neisler, whose team finished fourth in the regional. "I think we were all pleasantly surprised by that.
"We're excited to run again next weekend. That's been the goal since the start of the year. We're happy with whatever happens next week at this point. I thought Katy ran a great race today. I was real pleased with her."