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CARLINVILLE - The Marquette Catholic High School's girls cross country team made school history on Saturday by advancing the sectional for the first time with a fifth-place performance in the IHSA Class 1A Regional in Carlinville at Loveless Park.
The Explorers, dominated by freshmen and sophomore girls, clinched the fifth and final team berth with 143 points. Shelbyville won the team title with 38 points, the Shells came in second with 48 points, the Griffins placed third with 86 points and Litchfield was fourth with 136 points.
Marquette's Kailey Vickrey was fourth, coming in at 19:46.80. Marquette Catholic's Vickrey, only a sophomore was sensational, battling heavy competition for the fourth-place finish.
Along with Vickrey's time, Megan Jarzenbeck had a time of 22:28.99, Katie Johnson came in at 22:49.30, Paige Rister's time was 23:01.17, Clare Antrainer had a time of 23:34.61, Ava Certa had a time of 24:12.39, and Hudson McCowan came in at 25:34.52.
Marquette Catholic girls cross country coach Tim Turnbeaugh said he can't stop smiling today at the success of his young girls' team.
"We had six PRs on the same day," he said. "We have three freshmen girls who have never run cross country before this year and two sophomore girls who had not done cross country."
Turnbeaugh said he vividly remembers in June calling around trying to come up with enough girls to field a team. Slowly, but surely, he fielded enough girls. Last year, the Explorers graduated nine seniors from the girls' cross country team.
Kailey Vickrey has continued to improve and is following the footsteps of her sister, Riley now competes for Missouri Southern State University. Freshman Rister has continued to drop her times and was close to Jarzenbeck and Johnson in Saturday's race. Jarzenbeck is the lone senior. Antrainer, McCowan and Vickrey are the only sophomores, Certa, Johnson, and Rister are freshmen.
Coach Turnbaugh sees the sky as the limit for the girls as they continue on in their careers. The coach is also excited to perform this weekend in the Decatur St. Teresa Sectional.
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